Concerns about international travel in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will keep the Lawrence Children's Choir from taking a planned tour to England.
The choir, made up of 74 boys and girls in grades five through nine, was planning to perform during March at St. Paul's Cathedral and St. Martin-in-the-Fields, both in London.
Choir members had been selling muffin and cookie mixes, professional CD recordings of the choir and gift certificates for groceries and merchandise at Kohl's to finance their trip.
But parental anxiety was too overwhelming, and the choir's 12-member board of directors decided to cancel the tour.
"I'm disappointed over it, and the kids are disappointed, too," said Janeal Krehbiel, founder and artistic director of the choir. "But we had a number of parents who were just really, really edgy about letting their kids go. It came down to the board just had to make a decision."
The children's fund-raising efforts won't go to waste, though. Parents who were leery of letting their kids travel overseas were open to a domestic tour, Krehbiel said.
The board is in the process of discussing that option and plans to announce the new tour destination within the next two weeks, said Jim Daugherty, board president and an assistant professor of music education at Kansas University.
When board members began hearing from a few concerned parents after the Sept. 11 attacks, Daugherty said, the board conducted a survey to get a more complete picture of what all the choir parents thought.
"Opinion was kind of evenly divided," he said. "Parents just get to decide what they think is proper. It's a choir as well, so you can't have part of the group going and part of the group staying."
Daugherty said disappointed choir members and parents could hold out hope that the choir will make the London trip next year.
"There's a good possibility that we'll go then," he said. "We're, in effect, postponing the tour."