Police escorts down Gateway Boulevard. A red carpet rolled out through part of the Boynton Beach High School campus. And a special greeting from Mayor Jerry Taylor and Principal Fred Barch.
It was all for good reason Friday morning: to welcome past Lord Mayor of the London borough of Westminster, Catherine Longworth, and Robert Bone, Executive Director of the London International Choral Festival.
But, it is the school’s Dimensional Harmony chorus who are the real superstars.
The London officials were in town to officially invite the group — led by Sterling Frederick — to perform at the festival later this year.
Dimensional Harmony is the only chorus in Florida to be invited, and one of seven from throughout the world.
To say the least, everyone is excited.
“It’s an honor. It’s not an everyday thing you get invited to London. I get invited to the movies, you know? But London, it’s a very big thing for us. We’re going to try everything to go,” said Rosny Louis-Charles, a senior in the chorus.
The group of 50 students from freshmen to seniors sang four songs for Longworth and Bone. The students were most nervous about “Over the Rainbow” and all were instructed to take a deep breath and shake their arms out to relax. It was a hit. You could hear a pin drop. Even Taylor softly sang along.
After the songs, Longworth spent time chatting with the students and was informed by one of them that they can also dance. She went around to the group traveling with her and asked if there was time.
Longworth said the performance to “Cheerleader” left her “breath-taken.”
“I thought the performance was outstanding. Awesome, as you would say,” she said.
The festival is in its eighth year and runs from Dec. 29 through Jan. 2. It’s part of London’s New Year’s celebration. The Boynton group didn’t apply to perform. London found it. The festival has a team of “ears” (mostly senior music educators) in America who search for the “very best choirs, orchestras and bands,” said Dan Kirkby, a festival spokesman. Then a panel decides who should be invited.
Dimensional Harmony is used to being asked to perform, and is used to traveling.
They’ve traveled throughout the state, as well as Georgia, Tennessee and New York, where they’ve performed at “The Today Show,” Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Apollo Theater.
And when they haven’t had the money to go, they’ve raised it.
For five years in a row, the chorus was invited to sing at the New York City Heritage Music Festival, but couldn’t come up with the money. Donald Trump and then-Palm Beach County Commissioner Addie Greene stepped in and the group was able to go in 2010.
But, “this is a different level, to get them across the ocean,” Barch said.
The trip could cost about $60,000 or $70,000 and the school doesn’t have the money, Barch said. To try to come up with the money, the school has created a GoFundMe account online.
“We’re trying to be very positive about this. And we’re looking at all kinds of options to raise money,” Barch said. “We have very talented students. They’re very dedicated and deserving of this trip.”
To help Boynton’s Dimensional Harmony get to London, click here.
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