It was probably only a matter of time before something like the Charleston International Festival of Choirs came to pass. As Lee Pringle, one of the organizers, says, “This is a great place for any good choir to perform, given the kind of attention and appreciation that choral music gets in Charleston.”

The original idea was to comb the world for accomplished choirs that seek exposure via travel and touring opportunities. Each group was to pay its own way. As of last year, the festival’s scope was quite ambitious. A dozen or so choirs signed up — including four from Europe and Canada.

But the festival’s first outing almost failed. After the global economy tanked, things began to unravel. Citing insufficient funds, nine choirs dropped out; only two out-of-town ensembles remain. But the organizers decided — rather than cancel — to fall back on our own vibrant choral scene.

So the show will go on, though on a much-reduced scale.

From April 17-19, seven choirs will perform. Five are local. The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and the Cherokee High School Girls’ Traveling Choir will take turns singing the national anthem at two Family Circle Cup events on Friday, with concerts at Boone Hall Plantation in between.

The festival concludes on Sunday morning, with appearances at the Circular Congregational and Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian churches. For full details, visit the festival’s website (

The main event will be Saturday at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church at 1 p.m. Besides the visiting groups, we’ll hear from both the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Gospel Choir and its recent offshoot, the CSO Spiritual Ensemble.

The Wayfaring Singers of Charleston will also be there. The Charleston Southern University Concert Choir will perform, as will the nationally-honored College of Charleston Concert Choir.

All but the Family Circle Cup events are free and open to the public. Despite this year’s setbacks, hopes remain high for restoring the festival to its originally planned dimensions.