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Singing for their Olympic moment

Students in Groton-Dunstable Regional High’s Chamber Chorus are raising funds to perform this summer in London.

Stephanie Chaddock

Students in Groton-Dunstable Regional High’s Chamber Chorus are raising funds to perform this summer in London.

Timothy Savoy took only a moment to skim the e-mail when it arrived last August.

The award-winning vocal ensemble he directs at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School receives myriad invitations to festivals and appearances around the country every year. But raising the several hundred dollars per student necessary to travel to Hershey Park or Disney World or Washington, D.C., is a financial strain for many of the 30 students in Groton-Dunstable’s Chamber Chorus, and Savory is accustomed to politely declining invitations – or, as he did with the e-mail last summer, simply deleting them.

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When he happened to mention it to his students at a late-summer practice, however, they had a slightly different take. Performing at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, they pointed out, was perhaps the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime experience for a high school musical ensemble.

So it was with some sheepishness that Savoy had to contact the school’s IT staff to ask for help retrieving the e-mail. Eight months later, no one questions it was the right move.

On Aug. 1, Savoy, a number of parent chaperones and all 30 chorus members will board a flight to London, where they will spend seven days performing at various venues throughout the Olympic Games.

But there was that big question of how 30 teenagers, grades 10 through 12, could come up with $4,000 each for the trip. The students talked to their parents, and the parents swung into action.

“In the beginning, parents were beside themselves,” said Valerie DeNatale, whose son Thomas is in the chorus. “Many of these kids are seniors with college costs coming up. Senior year in high school is expensive even aside from college costs, and in this economy, most of the kids don’t have jobs. We were all asking ourselves, is this really a great idea? But then we just decided we’d do the best we could to raise the money.”

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The official announcement about the trip was issued at the school’s annual December concert, and the fund-raising campaign started the next month in earnest, she said.

“The group sang at the Burlington Mall and at senior citizen centers and at basketball games, anywhere they might be able to collect small donations,’’ she said. “We found some local corporate sponsors and conducted plenty of community outreach. We just kept going and kept trying to find new opportunities.”

Even celebrities have stepped in to help: Singer-songwriter Livingston Taylor will perform a benefit concert in conjunction with a silent auction and champagne reception at 7 p.m. next Thursday at the Devens Common Center in Devens.

The chorus and its supporters are feeling cautiously optimistic about hitting their goal soon. Now the students have something else to think about: practicing. The choir rehearses daily, but Savoy said the repertoire for the Olympics far exceeds a usual semester’s lineup.

“We’ll be performing a repertoire of about 20 different pieces,” Savoy said. “Typically, this group learns about six or seven pieces per semester. For this trip, we’re pulling out all the best selections we’ve done in the past, and learning a lot of new music as well.’’

Tickets for the Taylor concert are $30 in advance, $40 at the door. For tickets and more information about the event, or to make a tax-deductible donation, go to www.gdchamber2012.com.

MUSICAL WEEKEND: Monica Brown performs “A Heart’s Journey: An Evening of Sacred Music” Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Chapel, 885 Centre St., Newton. Tickets are $35; for information, go to www.sacredthreadscenter.org.

The Ameranouche Gypsy Jazz Trio takes the stage Friday to 8:30 p.m. at the Acton Jazz Cafe, 452 Great Road, Acton. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12.50 at the door; children under 12 are half price. Visit www.actonjazzcafe.com or call 978-263-6161.

Dance to the classic hits of the 1970s and ’80s performed by Drastic Measures Band on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Clock Tower Place Cafe, 4 Clock Tower Place, Maynard. Admission is $10; proceeds benefit the Maynard Community Chest. Go to www.musicmaynard.org

“A World of Music,” Middlesex Community College’s spring concert series, continues with “Cambodian Music: Traditional & Classic” at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Building 6 concert hall at the school’s campus in Bedford, 591 Springs Road. For more information about the free concert, call 781-280-3721.

YARN PAINTINGS: “Fiber Construction,” an exhibition of tapestries and wall hangings by Dora Hsiung, a Newton fiberartist, is running through April 29 at the Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton.

There will be a public reception with the artist Saturday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 617-796-1360 or go to www.newtonfreelibrary.net.

Nancy Shohet West can be reached at nancyswest@ gmail.com.

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