Ballenas Secondary School students (L to R) Mia Murray

Local students seek way to Carnegie Hall stage

Ballenas Secondary singers raising funds to journey to New York with Nanaimo Youth Choir

A trio of local students plans to make the leap from local stages to Carnegie Hall. And they’re hoping for the community’s help making the trip.

Laura Hansen, Mia Murray and Sophie Dugas, all students at Ballenas Secondary School, are part of the Nanaimo Youth Choir, a multi award-winning children’s choir who have been invited by Distinguished Concerts International New York to perform a world premiere performance in Carnegie Hall, with conductor and composer Cristian Grases and an orchestra composed of Juilliard music students, on June 12, 2016.

“We are super excited to be invited,” said Dugas, 15. “My mom helped us set up a crowdfunding campaign to help cover some of our meals, travel and accommodation costs a few weeks ago, but we only have until December 17 (the campaign end date) to meet that goal.”

The total cost of the trip will be about $4,000 for each of the 15 choristers, or $60,000.00 total. In addition to running many local fundraisers, the chorister’s families are able to contribute $800 per chorister. The choir is also hoping to raise $10,000.00 through crowdfunding, and have set up a campaign on Indiegogo.

The $10,000.00 will go towards expenses for the choir, plus expenses for two chaperones and their conductor, Marian Smith.

“Every bottle drive, every garage sale, every single fundraiser we do, goes towards one main fund for the group,” said Murray, 15. “If someone is sick and can’t make it to one of our fundraisers, it doesn’t matter. We support each other.”

While the parents divide the myriad fundraising tasks among themselves, it’s the kids’ dedication that they know will get them to Carnegie Hall.

“We know that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these kids,” said Darcie Osborne, choir manager. “They have earned this opportunity by working hard at choir and also being the kind of citizens at home that their community can be proud of.”

“We know that there are a lot of other important things that people can be donating to this Christmas,” said Hansen, 13. “We are just grateful for any support from our community…and we hope they’re proud of us when we are singing on that stage in Carnegie Hall.”

For more information about Nanaimo Youth Choir, visit: nanaimoyouthchoir.ca and follow the links to donate.

— NEWS staff and Nanaimo Youth Choir submission

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