TV special to focus on choir competition in Ohio

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CINCINNATI (AP) -- Organizers of an international choir contest say a television special and participation by an award-winning composer should direct more public attention to the event's U.S debut in Cincinnati this summer.

The World Choir Games are held every two years. Nearly 400 choirs from 49 countries already are registered for this year's event, which is expected to involve nearly 15,000 participants overall.

Games officials say composer Morten Lauridsen will collaborate in choral workshops and a concert during the games. Lauridsen was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2007 and is composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

Lauridsen is scheduled to collaborate with German conductor Nicol Matt for the concert "Music of the World" on July 11. The concert will feature a choir of combined university ensembles to perform the Lauridsen pieces conducted by Matt.

The contest's organizers also announced that a one-hour show to air on the ABC Family channel in August will feature events from the competition which will run from July 4 through July 14.

Event sponsor Procter & Gamble Co., which signed an agreement with ABC Family for the TV special to air after the games, says the broadcast will help showcase the competition and the Cincinnati region.

The international contest, often referred to as the Olympics of choral music, is the signature event of the Germany-based Interkultur organization. Interkultur produces international choral events around the world.

Interkultur President Gunter Titsch says the TV show will increase awareness of the games and give people across the United State a chance to see "how special it is when people from so many nations come together in peaceful competition and unite in song."

Event organizers expect as many as 200,000 spectators over the 11-day event. There are 23 musical categories included in the competition, which previously has been held in Austria, China, Germany and South Korea.

The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and May Festival Chorus are scheduled to perform at the opening and closing ceremonies of the games.