Olympics-bound Ferguson HS Chorus seeking local support

By Richard Yager….

Chorus shines during midwinter holiday concert at Ferguson High School.

The London Olympics are still a year away. Nevertheless, the 40-member John A. Ferguson High School Chorus is happily anticipating a trip to the 2012 Olympic Games, perhaps to sing in a star-studded Opening Ceremony extravaganza.

“We’ve already begun a drive with a quarter-million dollar goal to get there,” said Libby Perez, mother of one of 22 choral members appearing June 6 for an impromptu concert at a Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations (KFHA) meeting on June 6.

With husband, Adolfo, and Jane Walker, all KFHA board members, the trio decided on the spot to become a special committee to help organize and stage community fundraising to help subsidize the expensive trip.

Mayoral candidate Carlos Gimenez pledged support while imprinted T-shirts and chorus CDs attracted KFHA buyers at an entry sales table where two recordings were happily selected by Robert Bueso, vice president and board member of the Junior Orange Bowl Committee.

Olympian dreams all began when music director Ryan Ellis was asked to send an audition recording to the London Olympic Committee in March.

In mid-April, he was notified that the choral group had been chosen to represent the USA, the only public school in Florida accorded that honor.

Fundraising in earnest kicked off at a May 28 school concert when local jazz stars Ed Calle, Bobby Ramirez, Nicole Yarling, Leon Foster Thomes, Brian Russell and Mark Gregory appeared with the choral group. Tickets sold at $7 per seat.

Ellis, named Teacher of the Year at Ferguson for 2010-11, led the chorus to appearances at Walt Disney World during the winter holidays and a second at Carnegie Hall in New York City in March.  The choral group also won “Superior” ratings at State Performance Assessments and performed at the State Capitol.

In thanking individuals and organizations for support already received, Ellis noted that additional sponsors “can help us represent our community and our country on the world’s largest stage.”

A School Department letter for tax-deductible sponsorship or individual support can be obtained from Ellis by request by telephone at 786-877-2529 or by email at <banddirector@bellsouth.net>.

Chorus members include: Carolina Formosa, Elina Garciz, Lauren Gonzalez, Julianna Jannotti, Cindy Lopez, Meagan Martinez, Elizabeth Medina, Melissa Perez, Francheska Portuondo, Lucy Trabanco, sopranos; Ashley Garciz, Jennifer Gomez, Michelle Gregory, Daniela Gutierrez, Alexandra Hassan, Andrea Leon-Moreno, Kristen Lopez, Krystal Noriega, Lauren Perez, Luisa Villegas, altos.

Also Arielle Benitez, Javier Castellanos, Luis Diaz, Luis Estopinan, Adam Fernandez, Jovanni Gaggero, Austin Sanabria, Emmanuel Torres, Juan Villabona, Carlos Vivas, tenors; Kevin Dorta, Markos Espinal, Gabriel Godoy, Sebastian Gonzalez, Wesly Martinez, Juan Martinez, Brandon Mirarchi, Alejandro Rodriguez, Raniel Stubbs, David Tarafa, basses.

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