The kids in the Savannah Children's Choir are probably the most-traveled residents of our city.
Early next year, the young singers will fly to Vienna, Austria for their first-ever "solo" tour (not with other choirs). Funding this trip, which will also include concerts in the Czech Republic, takes months of herculean efforts by the kids, their families and the choir faculty and staff.
These kids are doing good things.
In 2012, the choir brought home a gold medal from the Concors Internazionale Di Canto Corale in Verona, Italy.
Enter Metropolitan Opera baritone Keith Miller, whose annual contributions to the not-for-profit Savannah's Children's Choir are the stuff of legend.
"Keith's agency is also the agency for the Vienna Boys Choir," explains SCC artistic director Roger Moss. "We have a great relationship with them, and they called and said 'Look, the Vienna Boys Choir is going to be in Georgia and Florida in the fall.'
"Our international trip next year is to Vienna, and we thought you know what, how fortuitous is that?' So we booked them."
That's right, the fabled Vienna Boys Choir, founded in the 15th Century and without question the most recognizable aggregation of young male vocalists in the entire world.
Tickets are on sale now for the Oct. 18 performance, which will be inside the breathtaking Cathedral of John the Baptist.
And here's the best part: The SCC's sponsors, primarily Georgia Power, have covered the Boys Choir's fees. Everything else goes to the Savannah kids' Vienna trip.
It costs about $3,000 per child.
"This," adds Moss, "has been our philosophy from day one: If kids make it into our traveling choir, one way or the other all kids will go on the trip.
"The interesting thing about travel with the children's choir is that yes, the travel's wonderful, but the whole process is such a great learning experience for the kids. Our policy is, before we write one check, the kids have to do A, B, C and D. The other way we raise money is by selling ads in the program book. We have two spaghetti dinners."
Then there's "Letty's Purse," a grant fund from area residents Jim and Dottie Kluttz. "The kids have to do an oral presentation for them," Moss says, "why they need the money, and then they have to tell them how they're going to pay it forward. Whether it's singing at a retirement center, or writing a paper on one of our composers ..."
Miller himself returns in November for his third annual operatic fundraiser, this one called (what else?) "A Night in Vienna." The concert, scheduled for the SCAD Museum of Art, will include, among others, famed mezzo-soprano Sandra Piques Eddy.
Moss is amazed and grateful for Miller's contributions. "Keith just calls these opera stars," he says, "and they say yes to him."