September 26, 2012 - For many people, traveling abroad is just a dream, but for Oxford High School Choir Students it could become a reality.
After performing at Carnegie Hall last year in New York City, OHS Choir received an invite to travel to Ireland and perform in the "Ireland Celebration of American Music Concert Series," but in order for students to make it there they're going to need some community support.
The total is upwards of $100,000 for 32 students and eight adults, which equates to around $2,700 per person, which for airfare, hotel, meals and travel expenses.
"That's why we're hitting the ground (running) on the fund-raising, seeking sponsors and looking at creative ways to raise funds," said Choir Director Christopher Card. "I've already given away some scholarships to those who really need it and said 'if I don't get financial aid, I can't go.'"
The scholarships range from $300 to $700 and also come from fund-raising dollars and donors. The choir has set an aggressive fund-raising goal of $30,000 to assist for the trip.
While the district does support the arts financially, no tax money from the district will be used for trip.
"Obviously we're living in tough times," said Card. "The remarkable thing is there are families that are struggling financially, but are committed to having their children go, so they just scrape by and say 'we're going to set (some money) aside, (because) we don't want this opportunity to pass our child by.'"
The choirs are holding a scrapbooking day on Nov. 10 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Oxford Middle School Registration before Oct. 10 is $40 per person, which includes table space, curbside valet service, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and beverages.
According to Card, the choir has received superior ratings and first place finishes the past five years both at state and national competitions pretty consistently.
"To come in the past five years with three grand champion trophies from music competitions is like a launching point to going international," he said. "It's like the next step for our choral program and a direction we seek to continue in."
"Being able to perform internationally is something that will stay with the kids the rest of their lives, he continued. "Most of these kids will not go into music or continue, but this is a final stop and that's so cool."
One of the goals, said Card of the OHS choir program is to be "a world class choir," not necessarily the "best choir," but a choir that could perform anywhere in any country or where other countries come to OHS and see a difference in the rehearsal room.
"We talk about 'keep it strong all year long' as one of our missions, the idea that on days that you're tired, keep your eyes on the mission of being a world class choir," he said. "Not the idea that we sound the best, but the idea that we work among the best."
Card said they've already had educators from around the world including China and England, as well as students from France, Germany and Russia visit their classroom.
"The comments made from visiting our classroom do show their reaction that something unusual is going on amongst the choir program and how they're (the choir students) doing their business," he said. "Behind all of that pursuit of being a world class choir is just the daily passion for rehearsing. If the kids did not have a passion for diving into rehearsals none of this would be possible."
Those interested in donating can send checks to Oxford High School Choirs at 745 N Oxford Rd Oxford, MI 48371.
For more information please e-mail Christopher Card at Christopher.email@example.com or call 248-969-5168. For more information on the scrapbooking day call 248-568-2758 and ask for Dee.
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.