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January 23
1882 - Author Helen Hunt Jackson arrives at Rancho Camulos; inspiration for "Ramona" novel [story]
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Valencia choir member Kara Hayes is one of 60 VHS students singing prior to a track and field competition Saturday in Olympic stadium in London.

The Santa Clarita Valley will be cheering on five of our finest athletes at the Olympics in track, swimming and volleyball beginning today. But our community is also be represented by a group of singers from local high schools.

Sixty Valencia High School students are in the United Kingdom this week participating in the Olympic experience. Hart High School choir members will be leaving tomorrow for their own Olympic performance.

The Valencia choir will perform in the Olympic Stadium Park for about 80,000 people on Saturday.

OLY12VHSgroupWestThe Valencia choir is highlighting their trip with performances at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. They will tour Dublin, London, York and Edinburg, Scotland. The trip includes visits to Stonehenge and the Tower of London.

The SCV group will not only be performing and seeing famous cities and international landmarks, they will watch some of the sports competition at an Olympic venue.

“We’re absolutely honored to be part of this incredible experience,” Valencia parent Jan Marie Hayes-Rennels told KHTS from Dublin, Ireland. Rennels, who is the new Placerita Junior High principal this year, is accompanying her daughter, Kara, on the international tour. “It’s quite something, and very exciting, to actually be a small part of it all.”

The singers planned the trip with over 40 fundraisers and sponsors to help defray the costs. Joining the Valencia students on the international trip are 22 parents, and a group of school administrators and teachers.

Rennels said that during the flight, the students saw a movie about the preparations for the Olympics, which gave them a peek into the history, details and organization required before today’s opening ceremonies.

OLY12JanMarieChristineThe Valencia High School choir is directed by Christine Tavares. While some of the group will be arriving back to Southern California on Monday, 40 people will extend their stay to 11 days and visit more sites in Scotland.

The Hart High choir group will visit the United Kingdom, via plane, train, bus and ferry, until Aug. 6.

Hart Choir Director Gail Hart and Hart Principal Dr. Collyn Neilsen are accompanying the 21 Hart students, along with other chaperones.

Placerita Junior High Principal Jan Marie Hayes-Rennels (left) with Valencia High Choir Director Christine Tavares.

The Hart choir is scheduled to perform August 3 in Regents Park and in the Olympic Village on the evening of August 5 for an audience of athletes.  They will also perform on ‘London Live’ August 4, which will be projected throughout the city of London on giant screens.

Hart noted that the Olympic Committee requested that no patriotic songs or costumes be included in performances.  Additionally, they do not allow any costumes or songs that indicate the country or school they come from.  Hart’s choir will perform an entertaining and uplifting set of songs that are ‘Glee’-inspired, including those from Journey, Van Halen, Adele, and others.

“They will be spectacular and memorable performances for all,” Hart said.

As part of the trip, the Hart choir will also attend an Olympic volleyball game.

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