VOENA eyes 2012 Olympics
By David Ryan Palmer
The Summer Olympics will be held next year in London, England. If everything goes their way, Benicia-based choir Voices of Eve ‘N Angels will be there to perform.
Annabelle Marie, who has directed the choir since founding it in 1994, said Tuesday nothing has been confirmed except that VOENA has been permitted to perform during a pre-Olympic festival.
“Right now, the Olympics planning committee is still hashing things out,” she said.
But while they’ve been granted permission to perform before the Olympics, the real prize would be playing inside Olympic Park itself, Marie said.
“If we get it, I mean, wow,” she said.
It’s not as if VOENA hasn’t been on a big stages before.
The choir has performed for Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush in Washington, D.C., and for Pope John Paul II in the Vatican.
It has shared the stage with Maya Angelou and traveled to Japan and South Africa, among other far-flung places.
Marie said one of the reasons VOENA is looked so highly upon by the committee in charge of the Olympic festival is the group’s multicultural makeup.
With many countries from all over the world sending athletes to compete in London, it makes sense that Olympic organizers would like to have multicultural entertainment as well, she said.
“The Olympic planning committee is very excited that we encompass 35 different cultures, and can sing in 20 different languages,” Marie said.
If chosen, the choir would be considered an ambassador from the United States.
VOENA is made up of three different categories of singers: beginner, intermediate, and concert choir.
The concert choir is composed of the most talented and able of Marie’s singers.
“I’d like to take the concert choir, and there are 65 kids in that group,” she said.
“The opportunity to go on a trip like that would be amazing.”
If given approval, Marie said she’d next work on fundraising efforts: Getting each VOENA concert choir singer to London and back would cost about $4,800 per person, to a total of about $300,000 to $350,000.