Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Community Notebook

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Community Notebook

Article excerpt

Byline: John Carter, Staff writer

Members of the girls choir of LaVilla School of the Arts had a dream come true when they received VIP treatment during an 'N Sync concert at Alltel Stadium a few weeks ago.

The magic evening for the choir, which calls itself Broadway Bound, began when they were picked up at the school in a 40-foot stretch limo.

The girls then got to sit in during the popular vocal group's pre-show soundcheck.

They met the superstar band, mingled at the pre-concert VIP party and then got great seats for the show.

"We're very happy to reward these aspiring singers -- especially kids who might not be able to afford special lessons or top concert tickets -- and give them an up-close look at the vast success of another group of talented, hard-working young performers," said Mike Lanman, Florida region president of Verizon Wireless, the group sponsoring the VIP treatment for the choir.

Choir director Jim Smith said the girls were "just ecstatic beyond belief" over the experience.

"This was a surprise for them," Smith said. "I told them I had something special for them and that it was a Wednesday, so they may have to resolve some church conflicts. And then a few of them said, 'Oh, Wednesday, that's the 'N Sync concert.' And then I told them that that was the surprise. They were just unbelievably excited. And it turned out just great."

Smith said members of 'N Sync even asked the girls to sing for them. The choir sang a little bit of As Long As He Needs Me from Oliver.

" 'N Sync complimented them on their harmony," Smith said. "So it was just a wonderful experience. And the choir was not intimidated or terribly awed by these charismatic males. They have a lot of poise and talent. I'm very proud of them."

The 17-member choir is: Elizabeth Anderson, Kirsten Beach, Lezita Caldwell, Anna Cary, Nicki Cosgrove, Carolyn Foxwell, Lynsey Gierke, Beth Gruninger, Kellie Hayes, Jenna Housh, Jessica Knapp, Sydney Lanier, Cara Leporati, Dannelle Neevel, Brenetta Nesmith, Clare Valdvieso and Maggie Woodlief. …

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