GROTON -- Less than a year after their triumphant performance at the London Olympic Games, the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District's Jazz Band and Chorus were denied a similar opportunity in Italy.

According to a formal submission by music director Timothy Savoy, the trip to Italy would have taken place over April 16-25 of 2014 and involve 30-50 students.

Cost per student for the extended overseas trip was estimated at $3,645.

For last year's London trip, students spent nine days attending the Olympics in England over the summer performing at a number of venues including Canterbury Cathedral.

The group was invited to entertain at the Olympics by KI Concerts after its string of winning performances at competitions along the east coast of the United States came to the attention of the company's president.

In England, choir members performed at venues from Hyde Park to outside the Tower of London to a setting in one of the city's great cathedrals.

The group also performed in Olympic Park itself.

Riding a wave of local pride, no one expected the program to be refused a similar trip to Italy next year but reservations about cost and exploitation of the students prevented the School Committee from agreeing to the trip.

In particular, committee member Leslie Lathrop balked at the high cost individual students, or rather their parents, would have to pay and feared that such trips were in danger of changing from educational experiences to unpaid touring.


When asked about the intentions of KI Concerts, Savoy replied that after some research among other tour packagers, KI Concerts still turned out to be the most affordable.

Nevertheless, Lathrop had other concerns including the timing of another European tour so soon after the London trip saying that many of the students who went to England were likely still involved in the music program. Would it not be better to wait until all had graduated so that a new group would be made up of students who had not had the overseas experience yet?

But other members of the committee felt differently.

Acknowledging that the trip is expensive, fellow School Committee member John Giger felt that the question of allowing the students to go should be left up to the parents.

In the end, committee members were split on the issue with Lathrop and James Frey voting against and Allison Manugian and Giger voting for.

Luis DeLoureiro and Thomas Steinfeld abstained.

The request died with the tie vote.

By contrast, a pair of other field trip requests were approved: A trip to Costa Rica over Feb. 18-28, 2014, by up to 24 students interested in an environmental tour of the country costing $2,781 each and a trip to Spain and France over Feb. 12-21, 2014, by up to 30 students paying about $3,500 each to experience the language, culture and architecture of the two countries.