Voices of Unity Choir Leaves for China

By Megan Trent

July 18, 2010 Updated Jul 18, 2010 at 10:28 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Months of hard work have come to fruition for Fort Wayne's Voices of Unity Choir. Early this morning the choir boarded a bus from Fort Wayne to the airport. The group is officially on it's way to the World Choir Games in Shaoxing, China.

"Hope made tangible." Three words Choir Director Marshall White used to describe the feeling in the air Sunday morning.

"It's been a very difficult journey, but obviously it's been doable, because we're leaving right now," smiled Janice Gipson, World Choir Games Tour Manager.

It was just after midnight that the parking lot at IPFW filled with the Voices of Unity Choir. For the young performers and chaperons, it's onto China to compete in what many call the Olympics of choir competitions.

"It's very tough. Mr. White has been pushing us, but I can see why he would do that," said young Lennon Herron.

"I know that it will be a life changing event for many of these children, because lots of them have never ever traveled outside of Fort Wayne, let alone outside of the country," said Gipson.

"We gonna have a good time there," said a very excited Kadejuianna Brooks.

One of only four U.S. choirs to make the cut, these past several months have been busy.

"From February until today, we are at 96% of our goal, which is around $460,000. And for me, that is awesome," said Gipson. "The break down is there are 25 travelers tonight and another 76 on Monday night,"

"The competition has already happened," said White. "They've brought home the gold. These kids have done the impossible. That's the gold."

But before the 23 hour trip to china, the young performs said their goodbyes.

"I'm going to miss my dad for two weeks, because he's the one who always wants us to do the chores. I'm going to miss that. I'm going to miss my dog," said Brooks.

"It's my first time on a plane, so it's going to be a little freaky then, but when I get in China I'll feel safe," said Herron.

"I'm excited and I'm scared at the same time, because it's going to be really scary on the airplane," said Brooks.

Luckily, the girls were given some tips on flying.

"Don't smile when I go past security," laughed Herron.

As the choir took their seats on the bus, the nerves gave way to excitement and appreciation.

"To the people in Fort Wayne who stepped up and decided we're going to be a part of this, we're going to be a part of making this become reality, you will be forever in my heart," said White.

To him, getting to China was always the goal. "The gold is just whatever to me," said White.

"The icing on the cake," his wife Cindy added. "We are eating the cake right now."

At home in the Summit City, thousands will be anxiously awaiting their return and cheering them on as they follow their dreams in China.

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