The Real Ambassadors, a jazz choir of students from the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts (GHAA), was asked by the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to perform at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. If able to raise the necessary funds in time, The Real Ambassadors and their Director Dianne Mower will perform at the Olympic Bandstand in the heart of the Olympic Village during the late July/early August Summer Olympic Games in London, England. The Real Ambassadors was one of a select few groups asked to perform at the Games.
Included in that group is Justin Dubree of Berlin. There are several students from the area also in the group: Jesse Crofton, Domenic Pellegrini and Nicholas Charlton, Hannah Benson of Canton, Jack Ploszaj of West Simsbury, Samatha Gilbert of Granby, Andre Bernier of Farmington and Ashley Jones of Rockville.
“I would highlight your great achievement in being selected to perform on the Olympic Park,” wrote the LOCOG’s Business Development Manager, Stewart Old. “Many thousands of performers from around the UK and across the World applied for this wonderful opportunity and The Real Ambassadors are one of a small number of performing groups that will get to realise this goal.”
The students are now tasked with raising the funds necessary for the 14-member group to participate, including the cost of flights, hotels, food, and transportation in London. It will cost approximately $70,000 for the group to travel to London where they will have multiple performances between July 27th and August 3rd.
The highly successful student group gets their name from the original Real Ambassadors, which was a jazz musical developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s by Dave and Iola Brubeck, in collaboration with Louis Armstrong and his band. The GHAA group has since performed with David Brubeck 4 times.
“In a sea of over polished, overdressed ‘cookie cutter’ swing choirs, The Real Ambassadors from the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, stand out as refreshingly ‘real’, poised to become the next generation of jazz musicians,” explain Dave and Iola Brubeck. “The extraordinary integration of voices and instrumentalists, create a beauty of sound that has made them the premier high school vocal ensemble in the country. Working together, they are true ambassadors of good will, displaying the depth of their commitment and character, creating music with soul and a wisdom far surpassing their youth.”
With leadership from Director Dianne Mower, the student group has worked to revive the old style jazz choir with great recognition and accomplishment. In Spring of 2012, the Real Ambassadors took first place at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival Competition. In the last 18 years of the competition, the Real Ambassadors has placed in first or second 12 times.
The students are working hard to collect the necessary funds for the trip, including organizing fund raisers and contacting local partners and business for their support. Anyone interested in supporting The Real Ambassadors are encouraged to contact Jeffrey Ostroff, Principal of the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts at (860) 757-6321.