We are justifiably proud of the eight Israeli medal winners; one gold, two silver and five bronze as well as all the other heroic participants in the 2012 London Paralympics

Less known is the award to Jerusalem-based Ankor Childrens’ Choir  at the World Choir Games held in Cincinnati in July, of a gold medal in the Youth Choirs Equal Voices category and a silver medal in the Musica Sacra category. This was no mean achievement in a competition which included some 360 choirs from over 70 countries. The Ankor choir which is directed by  Dafna Ben Yohanan, was the only Israeli choir to attend the Games.

Click here for a video clip of the welcome in Cincinnati.

The  choir was founded in 1983 and is a part of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. It has some 40 singers ages 11 – 18, all girls and all from the greater Jerusalem area.

The Ankor choir in the USA (photo credit: Dafna Ben Yohanan)

The Ankor choir in the USA (photo credit: Dafna Ben Yohanan)

Dafna  was delighted to receive a letter from none other than Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Maestro Zubin Mehta, congratulating her on what he described as the wonderful achievement of the Ankor choir.

Following the competition, the choir performed extensively for the Jewish community at the Jewish Community Center, the Synagogue, old age homes and private homes inCincinnati.

The choir performs on a regular basis at Yad Vashem, in its national ceremonies and before dignitaries from all over the world. It has performed before Presidents Clinton and Bush, Popes John Paul the 2nd and Benedict the 16th and before Prime Ministers and Presidents from all over the world. It also performs extensively with the Israel Philharmonic and the New Israel Opera (in June it did Carmen at Massada).

The choir has travelled all over the world, performing with orchestras such as the Israel Philharmonic at the BarbicanCenterin Londonand the Berlin Philharmonic in Berlin, Germany. It has also won prizes in several competitions in Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Bulgariaand other countries. It has also visited Japan.

The Ankor choir in the USA (photo credit: Dafna Ben Yohanan)

The Ankor choir in the USA (photo credit: Dafna Ben Yohanan)

One member of the Ankor team, 14 year old Shira, discovered that her cousin who lives in the USA and whom she had never met would also be participating in the games. The resulting heartwarming family meeting can be viewed here.

Click here to view the choir with Pope Benedict XVI at Yad Vashem

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