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On March 1st, tickets went on sale for an event many of you have likely been hearing about for some time, the 2012 World Choir Games.  The Games, billed as the Olympics of choral music, will be held in Cincinnati on July 4 – July 14, 2012.  The event will be the largest international event, arts event and, indeed, one of the largest events of any kind in the city’s history.  An estimated 200,000 visitors will come to town from as many as 70 countries to watch up to 20,000 participants perform and compete in 23 different categories of choral music.  Downtown will be transformed into a mini-Olympic village and a wide array of music, languages and culture will fill our streets.  It promises to be an incredible event and opportunity for the region.  For a great look at what the Games are all about, check out this short video.

To break down the numbers a little further, the UC Economics Center estimates that the economic impact to the area will reach $73.5 million, primarily stemming from visitors eating, drinking, sightseeing and booking more than 40,000 hotel nights, the most ever for a single event.
Cincinnati is the first city in North America to host the event which is held every two years.  It was selected due to an outstanding effort by local officials and for its rich cultural and musical heritage, the quality of its arts venues and the “walkability” of the city from major hotels to most of the choral venues.
I was fortunate enough to become involved with the Games as part of my participation in the 2011 class of C-Change, the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce’s Development program for emerging leaders.  Part of my year was spent working in a small group focused on developing a speaker’s bureau charged with going out to various community groups and professional organizations and speaking on all that the Games will bring to the region.  That work has continued into this year and we are as busy as ever filling requests from a wide array of interested groups.
While it is certain to be a wonderful few weeks, it can’t be done alone.  More than 4,000 volunteers are expected to be needed to fill a dizzying number of assignments.  More information on those opportunities can be found here.
If volunteering isn’t feasible, but you would like to know more about the concerts, event schedules and how to buy tickets, that information can be found here.  Many of the concerts will be free and there will even be opening and closing ceremonies, which promise to be a prime attraction. 
While trying to avoid this being too much of a sales pitch, I thought it was important to share some of the details surrounding this event with our clients, the trusted professionals we work with, and other readers as many have heard about the Games, but are not fully familiar with the scope of what is coming to town in July.
I strongly encourage all of you to get involved in this once in a lifetime event.  Try and find some time to volunteer, attend one of the many concerts, or just make a point to visit the downtown area during the Games.  For those clients of ours that are out of town and have been looking for an excuse to come back and see friends or family, this just might be the perfect excuse.
Have a great week!

Chip Workman, CFP®