For freshman Luke Kraus, the Carolina Forest High School’s Performing Arts trip to New York will be a first.
For senior Lila Myers, it’ll be her second trip with show choir and, including a vacation to the Big Apple with her family, her third.
There are 40 kids hoping to sing and dance their way to New York in April for a weekend they’ll talk about the rest of their lives.
Their fundraiser, “Broadway Bound,” is Feb. 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 10 at 3 p.m.
The shows are at the high school, and the $10 tickets are available at www.cfhsperformingarts.com.
All the money raised goes towards the $59,904 cost of taking the kids – at about $1,350 per – to New York.
Myers said the trip “teaches you a lot about the career of theatre and music and dance.
“You get to do a workshop with people who are on Broadway, which is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life. It gives us that drive to push further and further.”
The April trip is packed with tourist activities as well as those specifically geared towards the fine arts students.
They’ll visit the Statue of Liberty, Chinatown, Little Italy, the One World Observatory and the 9/11 Memorial. They’ll also perform for tours coming through at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
“Selected groups are allowed to perform there,” said musical director Kraig McBroom, who added, “We’ve sung there many times and always get an automatic invite.”
The group will see the Broadway shows “Mean Girls” and “Wicked,” and will have dinner with some of the “Wicked” cast members.
Perhaps the highlight of the trip, other than the competition they’ll be in, is the workshop they’ll have with cast members of a Broadway show.
McBroom said the professionals spend about an hour and a half with the Carolina Forest group, teaching them at least one song from their show, and talking with them about auditions, and life on Broadway in general.
“That, and the Broadway shows, are the most memorable parts of the trip for them,” McBroom said.
The Carolina Forest High School group will compete with other choirs from all over the country. And, if the past is any indication, they’ll bring home accolades.
The competition is at The College of Staten Island, and they’ll be matched against between 10 and 20 other choirs. There will be an award ceremony at Medieval Times where they’ll stay for dinner and the show.
“In my 38 years of teaching, I’ve learned to keep them busy so they don’t get in trouble,” McBroom laughed, talking about the packed long weekend.
The show choir students held a citrus fruit sale before Christmas to raise money for the trip, but the rest of the money comes from the ‘Broadway Bound’ show, donations, and “parents writing checks,” McBroom said.
If all the “Broadway Bound” shows are sold out, that will bring in about $16,000, leaving a good bit left to cover.
When tickets are purchased, a person can designate a particular student for that money to help. Otherwise, McBroom said, it goes to the greatest need.
The Oceanside Village and Lakeside Crossing communities invited the show choir to perform at those locations, and all the proceeds went to the cost of the New York trip.
“That was so sweet,” the musical director said. “Those two communities are so supportive of us.”
The “Broadway Bound” show will include music from “Guys and Dolls,” “All Shook Up,” and “Hercules,” which hasn’t even made it to Broadway yet.
The performances will be a little more intimate than usual, McBroom said, because the kids will introduce themselves to the audience.
“At the beginning, they’ll sit on the edge of the stage and tell the audience what they’re doing and why, and the audience will get to meet each one of them.”
The trip to New York will be the icing on the cake for the show choir participants who say their high school singing and dancing has already been life changing.
Kraus, who started singing at Sweetwater Baptist Church when he was 5 years old, said for him, it’s been a family with open arms welcoming him.
“It’s a great feeling being in a group like this.”
Anticipating the trip to New York, he said, “To see the theatre in action would be amazing. Those performers made it to Broadway. That will encourage me to do better as a performer and even as a person.”