High school choir forced to turn down Easter performance due to lawsuit threat

High school choir forced to turn down Easter performance of lawsuit threat

GROTON, Mass. — The award-winning Groton-Dunstable Regional High School chamber choir was invited to perform during Easter mass at St. Anthony's Basilica, but after planning and putting together the trip the show will not go on.

Ian Smith, an attorney for Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent the school a letter saying that performance violates the First Amendment.

"A Public school planned to take a group of students to a church worship service to perform religious music and this doesn't strike anyone as a violation of the separation of church and state,” he said.

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The week-long trip to Italy and Croatia is still happening, but there will be one less performance for students.

"The chance to perform in that historic venue in front of like 4,000 people, I know I'm probably never ever going to experience that in my life,” junior Gabby Orlando said.

Smith’s group threatened the student performance group with a lawsuit if the performed at the mass, prompting school officials to bring it to their lawyers.

"The advice of legal counsel was they shouldn't do that,” Interim-Superintendent Bill Ryan said.

Students said they are disappointed, but turning their focus to other performances they have scheduled for the trip.

"If you're able to perform in front of someone and do what you love, I think that's what it comes down to,” junior Nick Marsh said.

Still, many students said they’re upset about the change.

"We're not going there because we're Catholic we're going there because it's the birthplace of classical music which is something we all love and strive to perfect,” senior Josh Marion said.

To learn more about the Chamber Choir visit their website, GDChamber.org, or find them on Facebook at Groton Dunstable Chamber Chorus.