Nearly 50 Foxboro High School students will be visiting Australia this summer as part of a music exchange program that began in 2011.

Forty-seven students in the Foxboro High jazz ensemble, chamber orchestra and vocal jazz ensemble will be traveling to Sydney and the Hale School in western Australia from July 16-29, chaperoned by music faculty.

Music Director Cami Tedoldi, who is leading the trip, will be making her first visit Down Under.

“I’m very excited to see a new part of the world and to connect with our friends at the Hale School and be able to visit them in their home school and town,” Tedoldi said.

Thirty-eight students and six faculty members from Hale visited Foxboro in December 2017 and performed a joint concert at Foxboro High.

This year, the group from Foxboro High will first fly to Sydney where they will spend time sightseeing, including visits to the Sydney Opera House and Blue Mountains, as well as other historic and cultural attractions.

They will spend the second half of the trip at the Hale School, located in a coastal suburb of Perth, in western Australia for the exchange program.

Foxboro students will attend classes and rehearsals at the Hale School, get a feel for what life is like in Perth as a student then put on concerts with the students at Hale School for the community. The students will stay with host families in Perth, just as Hale students did in Foxboro.

“Personally, I can’t wait to visit the Sydney Opera House,” Tedoldi said. “As a musician, you study the great concert halls of the world, and this is one of them. I’m also really looking forward to being with our students in Australia and watching them explore and experience this new part of the world.

“Lastly, I’m so excited to visit our friends at Hale School. Every time they visit us, which has been three times, they tell us that they can’t wait for the day that we visit them. I’m so excited that this is going to be a reality, and we will get to learn from them and see how they teach music along with how their school operates in Perth, Australia.”

Fundraiser scheduled

To raise money for the trip, the music department and parents are organizing a “Journey to Australia Gala” fundraiser for Friday, Feb. 1, starting at 6:30 p.m., at Lakeview Pavilion.

The gala will feature live music performed by Foxboro High students, food and live and silent auctions. New England Patriots Hall of Fame member Matt Light will be running the auction. There will be a photo booth, donated by Back Stage Photo Booth.

“The music will be amazing, and there will be lots of fun and dancing,” Tedoldi said. “We have a wonderful group of music parents who have rallied together to make this fundraising effort happen. Our students have also been hard at work fundraising throughout the community.

David and Karen Howe have pledged to match all the money raised at the event. Lakeville Pavilion has donated both the space and food for the evening.

Among the students making the trip is Mary Davis, 16, an 11th-grade violin player.

“This is my first time going to Australia. I am stoked for this once in a lifetime opportunity. I just can’t wait to go,” she said.

She will be among students performing at the fundraiser.

“Having everyone fundraising and trying to get all of us to Australia means a lot to us,” said Davis.

The trip will cost her at least $5,000 and she has been working to save as much money as she can.

“When the Australian students came over they were all so nice and everyone was so friendly I got to know a lot of them,” Davis said. “It was just a great opportunity to know people from another country. I remember my stand partner; he sat next to me he was actually a really good violinist. I learned a lot from him and I’m excited to see him again.”

Antonia Carbone, 16, also an 11th-grade violinist, has been to Italy and Canada but never to Australia. Her family hosted two Hale students named Kristjan and Cade when they visited Foxboro and is excited to see Cade again (Kristjan already graduated).

“I think it’s an amazing thing that parents are putting this fundraiser together and hopefully we can raise a lot of money from it,” Carbone said.

“I am very excited to see some kangaroos and baby joeys in Australia,” Davis added.

Thomas Van Dell, 17, an 11th-grade cello player whose family also hosted two students, Matt and Nick, in 2017, said he has been to Europe but never to Australia.

“It’s once in a lifetime experience and to play professional-level music for a world-class school and meet all new people and spread our culture around the world is very exciting,” he said. “Matt and Nick were really nice. One played trombone and one played the cello. I hope I will be able to see them again. I still talk to them all the time via WhatsApp.”

Van Dell hopes to learn a lot from the Australians when it comes to music.

“If we can bring that new approach and knowledge back here I think it will improve our music program so much,” he said.

Van Dell added he is excited to experience everything Australia has to offer, except perhaps “vegemite” sandwiches. Australian students brought that food staple to Foxboro and he didn’t like it much.

“But I am excited to see the Opera House and I’ve never seen a kangaroo live before so maybe I will see them,” he said.

Town native Angela Davis, whose 17-year-old son Dimitri will be making the trip, said the Foxboro High music program is really at a collegiate level.

“We are blessed and so are these kids,” she said. “Thank you to Cami and the music department team for keeping the standards of excellence and providing these extraordinary experiences for our students. It is life-changing and we are so very, very lucky.”

Her son plays alto and tenor sax and clarinet.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to be able to play with people on the other side of the world and experience the culture of a different country.”

“To serve as student ambassadors of goodwill, peace, and understanding is a tremendous byproduct of this trip as well,” his mom added.

“The music program at FHS changed my life as a student and is clearly one of the primary reasons I am where I am in life,” said Davis, who has worked as associate dean of students at Berklee College of Music and more recently as a government executive.

“What I learned as a student in these same walls provided the basic leadership skills and opportunity to launch my education and profession and I will never ever forget that.”

She also applauded parents and students for their fundraising efforts.

“It is truly a group effort and the major players in this are the students,” she said. “They are performing every single week to raise money for their trip. So if anyone needs musicians for a gig, call the FHS Music Department.”

There are still sponsorship opportunities for the event, and the general public can attend and bid on auction items. Gala tickets are $50 and all proceeds will go directly to the trip.

Visit journeytoaustralia.org to donate or purchase tickets.