The Immaculate Heart of Mary Children’s Choir of Los Angeles was awarded silver medals in the “Young Children’s Choir” and “Music of the Religions” categories at the recently concluded Seventh World Choir Games in Cincinnati.Dubbed as the “Olympics of Choral Singing,” this year’s biennial event was held for the first time in the U.S. and drew more than 15,000 participants from over 60 countries who competed in 23 categories. In the “Young Children’s Choir” (ages 6-12) category, where they were the lone participant from North America, the IHMC Choir sang Linda Spevacek’s “A Choral Flourish,” “Shenandoah,” “Hava Nagila” and “Orde-e” (Madukayan folk song from the Philippines). In the “Music of the Religions” (no age limit) category, where 16 international choirs competed, they sang “Aleluya,” “Ampeu Shelo He-o” and two compositions by their accompanist Jude B. Roldan, “O Lord Hear My Prayer” and “Halina’t Umawit.” The IHMC Choir was originally scheduled to perform in the “Open Competition” reserved for choirs without any international exposure. However, a few weeks prior to the event, the choir’s founding artistic director Cristopher Avenda√±o requested a qualification trial to the professional segment of the Games. The children’s qualifying performance impressed a panel of five choral adjudicators who unanimously approved their elevation to the “Champions Competition,” composed of choirs that have already proven their ability in international choral events. The children were accompanied in their first-ever international competition by their parents, pastor Father Rodel Balagtas and Immaculate Heart of Mary School principal Connie McGhee. During their week-long stay in Cincinnati, the children visited the office of St. Anthony Messenger magazine which featured the IHMC Choir as the “only U.S. Catholic elementary school” participant in the World Choir Games in its April 2012 issue. The choir also sang at a Mass at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral and performed in concert at the motherhouse chapel of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati where they received multiple standing ovations. {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/0803/ihmchoir/{/gallery}