CHAMPLAIN - The trip of a lifetime has been years in the making.
After taking her chorus students to Montreal nine years ago, Kathy Kokes, choral director at Northeastern Clinton Central School, found her younger students wanted to take a trip as well.
"That was a nice trip," recalled Kokes, "but to get the students into Canada now is very difficult."
Six years ago, Kokes began working with the students on fundraising for a trip to New York City.
"They wanted to go on a trip and the majority of them wanted to see a Broadway show," she explained. "New York was the natural answer to that."
After various fundraising efforts, selling things like pizzas, oranges, snacks and flower bulbs, the chorus got closer and closer to their goal.
"Basically, my thing is when I take them on a trip, anybody who wants to go, gets to go, regardless if they have the money," Kokes said. "We don't have the have and have-nots."
However, one more fundraising effort needs to be had in order to ensure enough money will be available for all the students to attend the trip, which will be held May 27-30.
"The economy is so rough and some of these families are really struggling to make ends meet," Kokes explained.
The closing of Pfizer Inc. has been one catalyst for some students struggling to find the money for the trip.
"At first it was just a couple students and, then in the past two months, that has blossomed into a bigger issue," said Kokes.
To overcome the obstacle, an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner has been planned for Wednesday, Feb. 3, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the school.
"What we're doing is we get 50 percent of whatever we make at the door," Kokes explained. "The food service company will take care of the expenses and everything out of their 50 percent. So, we get half of everything that's made."
During the dinner, the chorus students will entertain the crowd by singing songs they hope to sing on their NYC trip.
While in the city, students will be taking a behind-the-scenes trip to Lincoln Center. It's uncertain now as to where the students will be performing, but Kokes hopes it's at the Lincoln Center Plaza.
"We're hoping we can perform outside and then go inside for our tours," she said. "That would be a really neat backdrop for the kids to have that in the background and perform there. That's a cultural heartbeat of the world."
When students found out they would be performing in the city, they were very excited.
"If I go anywhere, I like to spread the talent that we have up here in our school out to everyone else," said senior chorus student Brett Bosley. "Basically, up here nobody gets to hear us except for local people. Now that we have an opportunity to spread our vocal talent is amazing to me."
Kokes hopes the community will come out to support the fundraising efforts of the chorus by attending the spaghetti dinner.
"It's a nice informal way to hear the kids singing, to be entertained and to support this effort of allowing my students to have this experience of seeing New York," she said, "and getting a first-hand experience of seeing and being in a place where they've learned about in class."