CLYMER, N.Y. — A group of chorus students from Clymer Central School will have their New York City singing debut in front of 6,000 people in December during one performance of Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular 2018 show.
The students, who are in grades seven through 12, have been chosen to sing an opening a cappella song for the 65th annual Radio City show, featuring the Rockettes during a Saturday, Dec. 15, performance.
"We are really excited about this," said Corry Travel owner Jim Wojcicehowski, who schedules annual bus trips to New York City and made the Clymer district aware of the opportunity after attending a 2017 Radio City Music Hall show. "This is a new program they are doing and we nailed it."
During a recent school board meeting, CCS music director Daland Perry explained to board members that officials at Radio City were impressed with the students' submission tape and invited them to join their 2018 lineup.
"They liked the way we looked, the way we sounded, and the next step is to get the approval from the district to attend," Perry said.
Board members unanimously approved the request, which will come at no cost to the district.
"We are going to do some fundraising and ask local businesses for their support to help offset the cost," Perry said. "Students will also be responsible for some of the cost."
Wojcicehowski, who saw the 2017 show four times while hosting bus trips to the city, said during one of those performances a school group came out on stage and sang an a cappella song.
"They did a beautiful number and then went off the stage to sit with their group of family and friends to watch the rest of the show," Wojcicehowski said. "I thought that was really interesting because I have never seen a school group perform before the show."
In January, Wojcicehowski called his vendor contact at Radio City and asked about the school group performance. He was told that it's a new program being offered and groups from all over the world are invited to apply to secure a spot as an opening act for a Christmas Spectacular performance.
After presenting the opportunity to Perry and CCS administration, Perry and chorus members created an audition tape.
"The tape that Daland submitted was very nicely put together and my vendor called and said, 'Jim, you are in," Wojcicehowski said.
Wojcicehowski is coordinating the trip for students and school chaperones through his travel company and is offering two additional buses for community members to attend the performance.
A total of three buses — one for students and two for members of the public — will leave for NYC Friday, Dec. 14, at midnight from CCS and are expected to arrive in the city at 7 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. From that moment, students will have an educational experience driving and walking through the city.
"We teach the city," Wojcicehowski said. "We will visit Bryant Park, show them Madison Square Garden and stop at Macy's. We also have tickets for 2 p.m. for Top of the Rock."
Those on the public buses have the option to travel and experience the same sites as the students, or they can have the day to move about the city on their own for Christmas shopping.
At 4 p.m., students will have dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. Community members are again invited to join if they wish. The group will then leave for Radio City for a 6 p.m. check in and begin changing, practicing and getting ready for a 7:30 p.m. performance.
Members of the public are invited to attend the Radio City experience, or continue to explore the city on their own.
Clymer students will sing one a cappella song to open the show and then will be invited to join the audience to watch the reside of the performance.
"We are really excited about this," Wojcicehowski said.
Seats are still available for any member of the public wanting to attend the NYC trip. For an individual to the ride the bus to the city, the cost would be $135. To attend the Radio City Christmas Spectacular performance featuring the Clymer students, ticket prices for orchestra seating (where the group will be sitting) is $120 per ticket. And, to attend dinner at Hard Rock Cafe before the show is an extra $30.
It is not mandatory to attend the show and dinner. Wojcicehowski said many community members attend the trip to complete their Christmas shopping and would just be required to meet the group at the end of the evening for a return trip home.
All buses will leave NYC at 10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, and arrive back at CCS in the early morning hours of Sunday, Dec. 16.