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Ledyard choir brings the sounds of music to Fenway

Ledyard — The words of Plato: "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything."

Hmmm. Not bad. Maybe that's how he got to be, you know, Plato.

But who knew music would ever be responsible for a trip to Fenway, too?

And now you know how the effortlessly inspirational Ledyard Chamber Choir spent Tuesday night. Imagine: a bunch of kids from Ledyard High, maintaining the choir's 27-year tradition of spirit through song, got to sing the National Anthem at Fenway Park before the Red Sox played the Twins.

They were really good, too.

Turns out in-laws are underrated after all. Chamber Choir director Melanie Cometa's brother-in-law works for the Red Sox and made sure the audition tape got in the right hands. Their voices did the rest. In time.

"They're so booked with great singers we didn't get a date for three years," Cometa said Wednesday from school.

There wasn't much time to prepare, what with the choir's performance at the school's convocation late last week. What we may see as mundane — please stand, remove your hats and pray the artist doesn't turn this into a 10-minute ballad — isn't so easy with 35,000 watching and not much preparation.

"We practiced for approximately 12 minutes, give or take," Cometa said, to the chuckles of her students.

"We do it with a lot of detail other people might pass over," choir member Lizzie Jantzi said. "The difficulty is making sure everybody in synchronized in the little things we do."

Jantzi, perhaps unwittingly, just married the vagaries of singing the Star Spangled Banner to everyday life. Because aren't we all challenged at times with making sure everybody is synchronized in the little things?

Other reactions:

Katie Espinosa: "It was pretty insane. Awesome to be there. I'm a Red Sox fan and it was my first time at Fenway. To be on the field and sing ... we put in a lot of work to do gigs like this."

Ethan Dieckman: "The overall feeling of going, I was a little nervous because I wanted us to do well for the future of Ledyard music. You could feel the energy on the field and how it added to the excitement."

Maybe the best take of all came from choir member Evelyn Morrison, who said, "Sometimes, for some people, it's a once in a lifetime experience to be able to do something like we did. And Ledyard music helped that come true. Even if you're not the biggest fan, it's still an insane place and cool to go there."

And that, really, is the collective energy that defines the magic — and cachet — of our schools. It may not always resonate with members of the general public, who measure success by fixating on standardized test scores and how much of their tax money is earmarked for education. But it was a bunch of kids singing in a school-sponsored choir that produced this once-in-a-lifetime night, delivering nothing but mad props and bon mots for Ledyard High and the town in general.

All the parents who were nice enough to carpool — 100 Ledyard people in total — got to spend a school night at Fenway Park.

And this just in: no singing hangovers to be heard. All the kids were back in school singing again Wednesday. They warmed up with the refrain from "Better Is One Day," a spiritual:

"Better is one day in Your courts; Better is one day in Your house; Better is one day in Your courts; Than thousands elsewhere."

Loosely translated, it means that life's successes, if you follow an honorable path, needn't be anything more than bunt singles. Better is one day. Better is rejoicing in the present. And for a bunch of kids from Ledyard High, better is one day in the choir room, committing to Tolstoy's belief that "music is the shorthand of emotion."

They went, they sang, they'll never forget.

Better was one day.

A Tuesday.

At Fenway.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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