Sonora, CA– It’s official. Summerville High School’s Jazz@8 choir will be performing in Washington D.C for the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree.
While the invitation to perform had been made weeks ago, the students still had to raise enough money to attend the special event.
“We needed airfare and lodging and plus we had to have decent outfits to wear in the White House,” said Choir Director Madeline Young. “All of that has taken money and the community has been amazing. We have raised all of the money that we need to go to Washington D.C.”
Young says donations poured in from the Sonora Area Foundation, Black Oak Casino, the Sonora Sunrise Rotary, numerous private donors and even former Jazz@8 choir alumni. Donations totaled around $20,000 to enable eighteen Jazz@8 students to travel to Washington, D.C. for their Tuesday, December 6th performance.
Young thanks Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Joe Silva for his support of Jazz@8. She says he was approached by Congressman Jeff Denham about the possibility of a student group performing at the White House. Silva recommended Jazz@8 and the invitation was offered.
“We didn’t have to give an audition tape at all,” said Young. “Joe Silva has heard the group sing at many events in the county over the years. Obviously Jeff Denham trusted him.”
Young says she and the students will board a plane on Monday, December 5th. On Tuesday morning they will sing at a two hour reception at the White House and also get a tour.
“The Speaker of the House John Boehner has invited the group to a private reception at his office before the tree lighting to have a picture taken,” said Young. “And then the group sings for the tree lighting for five minutes.”
After the tree lighting, Jazz@8 will be singing at a reception for 700 people at the Library of Congress.
“It’s a once in a lifetime, tell your grandchildren someday story,” said Young. “For the students to go to the heart of our capitol and meet heads of our government is quite an honor. I’m very proud of them.”