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Dear Debi –

Well, we miss you all already! I hope your trip to and your day in Fiji has gone wonderfully, and that all of you are still feeling chipper and getting enough rest and staying well. If you haven’t seen Ambassador McGann yet at the Embassy, please give him my best wishes, as he is a good friend of mine.

I want to thank you on behalf of so many people for your spectacular presence in Auckland the past two days. The good will you and your beautiful group of girls created, the wonderful music they sang, and the common bond of humanity that they exemplified and reminded us of, were a great shot in the arm to all who saw you, and a magnificent example of America and Americans at their best. I personally had a great time being with you yesterday and wished I could have had more time to talk to all the girls.

One thing I want to emphasize, besides how proud we are of all of you, is how much I hope the girls understand how special it is to belong to a wonderful team like yours, and how much pride they should have in that. That pride is something they can carry all their lives and that sense of team is a rare thing that will enrich their lives each time they can emulate it in other times and places. But of course you already know all that, else you could not do the marvelous job you are doing.

I hope you were not disappointed in the size of last night’s event. I did try very hard with three different choirs to have a joint concert, but timing was against us all the way. The Auckland Boys’ Choir and Auckland Girls’ Choir had both just started again this week after a three-week school break, and they were unavailable. We came very close to getting the Greater Auckland Chorus there – it would have been a Monday concert if I could have gotten them – but they are getting ready for the Sweet Adelines’ annual Word Competition in October, and had arranged for a special coach to be here from the USA this week, and they were fully booked with her on Monday. But I hope you understand how much all of us who were there appreciated the magnificent performance we heard, and the beautiful good will evidenced by those shining girls’ faces.

I was looking at your website today and saw photos from your trip to Greece two years ago. I was jealous – I had just left Athens the year before, where I had first organized concerts in the embassy courtyard where you sang. The Philadelphia Boys’ Choir were there in 2007, just before I left.

Please give my thanks and love to all the girls. I wish I had learned more names, but please say a special “hi” to Allyson, Elizabeth, Priscilla, and the young first soprano at the start of the first row who did such a great job in the descant in “The Lion Sleeps Tonight!”

Please let me know if we can ever be of service, and please let the girls know they can always contact me if I can ever help in some of the things we talked about, such as Foreign Service careers or State Department internships.

Safe travels to you all, and be well.

Faithfully yours,

Nick Greanias

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