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Northwestern choir students head to Hawaii

Northwestern High School choir students are taking their show on the road and off the continent. Choir Director Mike Goodlet and 76 choir students will travel to Hawaii on Friday, March 8, for a five-day concert tour. "I'm really excited," senior...

Northwestern High School choir students are taking their show on the road and off the continent.

Choir Director Mike Goodlet and 76 choir students will travel to Hawaii on Friday, March 8, for a five-day concert tour.

"I'm really excited," senior Hope Nordrum said. "I want to go somewhere warmer."

While there, they will sing at the Pearl Harbor Memorial and a Hawaiian church as well as take part in an exchange concert with college singers.

"We'll be going to the USS Arizona and we'll get a chance to sing there," Goodlet said. "They'll present us with a flag when we're done with our performance, so some real important things in our history that kids can get a direct connection to and music brings them there to do that."

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Since 2004, the Northwestern High School choir has traveled to a new destination every three years: the Bahamas, Hollywood, New York, Disneyworld. Last year, it was Washington, D.C.

The trip is the culmination of two years of fundraising by students.

"We've done car washes, 50/50 raffles, grocery bagging," Goodlet said. "We sold Younkers books before they went out of business. We created a choir cookbook."

Now, they're going to share their love of music with a new audience.

"In Hawaii, it's a culture within our culture. It's another one of our states, but there's so many things that happen there that we just don't know anything about," Goodlet said. "We're going to sing a piece for them, too: 'Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening.' I wonder how many of them know what that feeling is like."

Nordrum and fellow senior Ashley Olson said they're worried about the little things: sunburn, being late, forgetting an ID somewhere, airport check-ins. But they're excited as well.

"It's always a fun time," Olson said.

Both seniors were able to travel to Washington, D.C. three years ago. They know they have to be prepared to sing at a moment's notice.

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"I think we had three set days we were performing in the itinerary, but with impromptu singing, it was about nine or 10 that we ended up doing," Goodlet said.

They sang on the steps of the Library of Congress, at the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, even at a dinner theater.

"We sang when we came in from the airport that night," Olson said. "It was really late at night."

But when Goodlet saw the American flag waving, he had the students sing the National Anthem.

The trip caps off a week of performances for the students. The spring concert was Monday, March 4. They earned a gold medal at a large group choir contest Wednesday, March 6, in Ashland. And Friday at midnight they leave for Hawaii, thanks to public support through fundraisers.

"I think that music is a universal and world language and sometimes we get caught up in our own little worlds and we fail to realize that this can affect people in the whole world," Goodlet said.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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