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PRHS students spread some musical love for charity

Vocalists from Plymouth Regional High School surprised fellow classmates, teachers and staff on Tuesday with special Valentine's Day songs as part of a fundraiser for the Plymouth Community Closet's food pantry. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
February 15, 2017
PLYMOUTH — Students in Will Gunn's music classes at Plymouth Regional High School spread a little love around on Valentine's Day, not only by serenading students, teachers and staff, but also by using their vocal talents to raise money for a local food pantry.

In the days leading up to Valentine's Day, the school community was invited to request a song for someone special in their lives at PRHS. For a $3 donation, that person would receive a surprise visit from the volunteer choral group, while for $5, the group offered to deliver a carnation along with a song.

"It's a mixed response each year. Some people think it's fun to embarrass their friends by having us sing to them, and sometimes it's a boyfriend/girlfriend thing," said Lilly Friedman, one of the 14 vocalists for the special fundraising event.

It's a teacher appreciation thing, too, as Kate Donahue found out when the group burst into her classroom singing the Stevie Wonder classic, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" to her. She even got a carnation from her secret Valentine.

"You guys are just awesome. That was the best," Donahue said as they headed off to surprise the next recipient on their list.

Besides Stevie Wonder, there were also snippets of other well-known love songs such as John Legend's romantic "All of Me," Andy Grammar's peppy "Fine By Me" for friendlier messages, Billy Joel's harmonic "For the Longest Time," and the Elvis Presley classic, "Can't Help Falling in Love with You."

Friedman said those who purchased a singing Valentine could request a song, or simply leave it up to the group to decide.

As they moved on to croon their Elvis ballad for Special Education teacher Julie Fogarty, she found herself not only pleasantly surprised but very impressed by their talents.

"They were incredible, just amazing," she said as she held her carnation.

Asked if there was any mystery behind who might have made the request, there seemed to be little surprise though.

"My husband works here in the building, too, so I'm going to assume it was him. It was really awesome," Fogarty said.

Some of the guys receiving a visit from the group were a bit embarrassed by the attention, but enjoyed it all the same.

"Hey, that was sweet," one student said to his classmate.

"I wish I got one. Come back," another student was heard calling out to the group.

Friedman said the Singing Valentine fundraising event has grown over the past few years, with more than 60 requests this time around. And through all those donations they will now share the love of the PRHS community with a sizeable contribution to Plymouth's Community Closet food pantry.

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