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Kansas City vocalist chosen to represent US in India's G-20 Summit choir reflects on experience

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Posted at 5:30 AM, Sep 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-12 07:53:54-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the 2023 G-20 summit comes to a close in India, one Kansas City-based vocalist reflected on her opportunity to sing at the summit this year.

Eboni Fondren was one of 29 musicians chosen by Banyan Tree Events to sing as a blended group of musicians as a part of the Ministry of Culture's orchestral presentation of its "world choir."

This was a part of several presentations that took place during the summit, including educational, political and cultural presentations.

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The 2023 G20 "World Choir" of vocalists and musicians with world leaders the day of the performance on Aug. 26.

The G-20 countries are as follows:

1. Argentina
2. Australia
3. Brazil
4. Canada
5. China
6. France
7. Germany
8. India
9. Indonesia
10. Italy
11. Japan
12. Mexico
13. Republic of Korea
14. Russia
15. Saudi Arabia
16. South Africa
17. Turkey
18. United Kingdom
19. United States of America
20. European Union

The nine guest countries included:

1. Bangladesh
2. Egypt
3. Mauritius
4. Netherlands
5. Nigeria
6. Oman
7. Singapore
8. Spain
9. United Arab Emirates (UAE)

 "It was amazing," Fondren said.

She says she did not know this was an opportunity until she heard from a mentor and world-renowned jazz vocalist, Deborah Brown.

"It was just the most unexpected, but beautiful experience I never knew I needed," Fondren said."

But as someone who spent multiple years of her career overseas, Brown knew what an opportunity like this could bring.

"The Indian representative called me and I thought, well you know, I think Eboni would would probably be a great choice for this, and they did choose her. Immediately," Brown said.

Brown says she moved back to her hometown of Kansas City with the hopes of sharing her international experiences with those next up in the industry.

"This is something that I think is important for her to realize, that there are other people out there, and there are other people that are doing the same thing," Brown said. "They’re striving to make their art known, and I think it’s very important for everybody to know what that struggle is and to know what the beautiful outcome of it could be."

Fondren says that is the very thing that stuck with her from her trip.

"When you just get outside of your comfort zone, it just really resonates, like how much more there is out there in the world," she said. "And people around the world are doing what you’re doing."

Fondren was in India for a total of 10 days from Aug. 18 to Aug. 28., with the official performance held on Aug. 26. The music they sang was written by two Indian composers operating under a single theme.

"The message of the G-20 summit in India, the world is one family, so one world, one future, one family," Fondren said.

And with this mindset of "one," came many commonalities.

"Music, you know, just tied us all together for the entire time that we were there," Fondren said. "I’ve got these new friendships, this new family of musicians and artists all around the world."

Her biggest takeaway, however, was something she hopes will motivate her years down the line.

"There’s so much more opportunity out there in the world than your little bubble," she said.