Supporting the singers

When the 14 boys of the

Sequim High School select choir men's ensemble became the first men's ensemble from SHS to make it to the Washington State Choral Competition, they had dozens of parents, grandparents and friends to thank for taking them there. When 48 members of the SHS choir traveled to Anaheim, Calif., for the Heritage Music Festival this past May, they thanked those same people for the clothes on their backs - literally.

The family members and other supporters make up the Sequim Choir Boosters, a group that works hard all yearlong to raise funds for uniforms, traveling, scholarships and sound equipment.

According to Choir Boosters president Tina Lauritzen, the 2008-2009 school year is technically an "off year" for the choir - meaning the band, which alternates with the choir to go to Anaheim, will make the trip - but the boosters will raise funds just as hard as they did in the 2007-2008 year.

"We've got to raise more," Lauritzen said, citing rising fuel prices as one of the main reasons. "We're going to treat it like an 'on year.'"

In addition to raising the approximately $55,000 the choir needs to travel to the Heritage Music Festival, Lauritzen said the Boosters are concentrating on fundraising for uniforms for the new swing choir and incoming freshmen and for portable sound equipment for concerts.

"Right now, those are our biggest projects," Lauritzen said.

Lauritzen became involved with the Boosters two years ago when her daughter Jessica, now a sophomore, joined the SHS choir.

"She has such a strong voice and enjoys singing," Lauritzen said. "I figured I better get involved."

The Boosters and the choir students don't take the summer off - the group has been having car washes and garage sales throughout the summer and the Boosters already are planning several fundraising concerts for the fall. Raising the money can be hard work and stressful, but for Lauritzen, it's more than worth it.

Especially close to Lauritzen's heart are the scholarships - for the first time this past year, the Boosters gave scholarships totaling $1,000 to four students.

"The kids work so hard and are so talented," she said. "The least we can do is support them and help them get to where they want to go."

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