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Cardinal Singers dodge H1N1 and win big at world championship

July 13th, 2009

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The Cardinal Singers are ranked the number one mixed choir internationally.

When a group of 39 from the University of Louisville traveled to South Korea this month to take part in the World Choir Championship, they didn’t anticipate that an outbreak of H1N1 flu would alter their plans.

After winning first place in all of their competitions, The Cardinal Singers were told that a gala event and further competitions would be canceled because some participants in the event had tested positive for H1N1. Those who tested positive — primarily a group of singers from Indonesia — were quarantined.

UofL’s Director of Choral Activities, Kent Hatteburg, who also directs the Cardinal Singers and is traveling with them, said on July 11 that everyone in the UofL group was “perfectly healthy.” Hatteberg said cancellation of the closing ceremonies did not affect the outcome of the competition for UofL because the winners already had been determined.

At the event, the Cardinal Singers competed in two areas — sacred music and mixed chorus — winning first place in both. They were also one of three choirs invited to sing in the gala performance before it was cancelled.

According to one student, who communicated by e-mail from Changwon, South Korea, the UofL group was never quarantined or tested, but their temperatures were checked every day of the competition. She added that due to the cancellation, the singers “actually had a lovely day getting to further explore town.”

The Cardinal Singers departed for South Korea on July 4 and are slated to return July 18. More than 1,500 people from around the world attended the choir contest.

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