In case you have been living under a rock, or just busy with life and haven’t heard about VOENA, the world-class children’s choir based right here in Benicia, please take note: VOENA is going to perform at this year’s Summer Olympics. Known as goodwill ambassadors through performances and promoting cultural exchange, the group sings songs of peace in the native languages of many world cultures.
Founded by director Annabel Marie in 1994, VOENA (Voices of Eve ‘n’ Angels) boasts 130 young performers from ages 5 to 18. VOENA has a no-audition policy, accepting any child who wants to sing and take on the challenges of a hard work ethic. Annabel Marie has taken the group on a singing odyssey around the world, performing for many U.S. and foreign dignitaries, and well-known recording artists. A sampling of that impressive list includes two U.S. presidents (Clinton & Bush Jr.), Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, and Condoleezza Rice. They have opened for and/or performed with Rita Coolidge, Maya Anjelou, Jose Feliciano and Lily Tomlin. VOENA’s performance schedule has taken them across the U.S. and to five foreign countries, to such exalted venues as the White House, Carnegie Hall, Washington National Cathedral, the SOWETO festival in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Vatican.
World Projects, a company specializing in international music festivals and custom tours, nominated VOENA, along with other groups, to audition for the 2012 Olympics. Headquartered in Benicia, the international company also has offices in Japan, Australia and Europe. After a competitive audition, the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games selected VOENA to perform this summer. Although many youth groups will be performing at the Olympics, VOENA was further honored to be selected to perform for the U.N. during the United Nations Association event, and at special events at the Central Hall at Westminster. Opening ceremonies commence July 27 in London, with closing ceremonies August 12. The group is accepting donations to help send fifty kids to London this July. For more information, visit VOENA.org. For information about World Projects or the summer Olympics, visit worldprojects.org or london2012.com.