CHS String Ensemble Will Travel to Italy - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

CHS String Ensemble Will Travel to Italy

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Charlottesville High School's celebrated string ensemble now has the cash it needs to make music overseas.

The students raised $50,000 on their own and the Charlottesville community opened their wallets too but it still was not enough.

It's the second rehearsal of the week for these musicians. They're just a few days away from their trip to Italy for the Florence International Youth Orchestra Festival. CHS is vying for a top prize against 19 other orchestras.

CHS Orchestra Director Laura Mulligan Thomas said, "We're one of only two from the United States."

Fundraisers and contributions collected some of the cash for the trip, but the string ensemble was still $10,000 shy of their goal.

"At the last minute several people stepped up. They heard on the last channel 29 news piece that we were a little bit short. We got several people who were very interested in helping us close the gap," stated Thomas.

That's when a big donation of $7,500 came in from the estate of LeRoi Moore, the late saxophonist of the Dave Matthews Band.

Thomas says the donation was simply mind blowing, to have musician's legacy helping out fellow musicians, "It means a lot. Charlottesville is great. There's so much support for the arts."

To say thank you to their community, the orchestra is putting on a free concert at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion Saturday night. The students say they do not mind putting in the extra hours of rehearsal because Charlottesville is worth it.

That Bon Voyage Concert is at the pavilion at 8 p.m. Saturday. The 53 ensemble members leave for Italy on Sunday. They'll be in Florence for eight days.

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