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AHS orchestra hosts Venetian Cabaret fundraiser

Ashland High School's orchestra will host a Venetian Cabaret with Renaissance and baroque music, accompanied by desserts and coffees at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 5, to raise money for a tour of Italy in June. The event will be held in the Ashland Middle School gym.

Orchestra director Gerry Paré is taking 45 orchestra members on a tour of Milan, Crimona, Pisa, Florence and Siena and will give concerts of American music as they go. Orchestra members will visit violin makers, museums and a cooking school in Siena, where they will participate in making an Italian meal. They will study Galileo and Michelangelo in Florence.

Their performances in Italy will include such American hits as "Red River Valley," "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," "Amazing Grace," "Simple Gifts" and fiddle tunes.

The trip costs $3,000 per student — and the fundraisers the class puts on are used to help those less able to pay. It also covers the bus trip to Portland airport, which totals $3,500.

In previous years, Paré took students to China and to Ashland's sister city, Guanajuato, Mexico. Students earlier raised funds with a Mark Wood concert and by selling Italian sodas and pizzza at the Talent Harvest Festival.

"The students are very, very excited with the whole experience of playing music and sharing cutlure in Italy," said Paré.

Tickets are available at AMS, 541-482-1611, ext. 219, or by e-mail on a sliding scale of $7 to $10 or at the door. Seating is limited.