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Valencia choir struggles to get to Carnegie Hall

Students attempt to raise big bucks at boutique today

Posted: November 20, 2009 9:46 p.m.
Updated: November 21, 2009 7:00 a.m.

Ressel Yu, left, of Cachet Candle Co., points out the variety of soy scented candles to Valencia students Samantha Summers, center, and Marisa De Armas as they browse more than 50 vendors at the boutique. The choir must still raise over $100,000 to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York.

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$129,000.

That’s what stands between the 225 Valencia High School choir students and their once-in-a-lifetime performance at Carnegie Hall in April.

“It’s just going to be one of those moments you never forget,” said senior and choir president Alexis Rubell.

The students have already raised $56,000 since the start of the school year through various fundraisers and bake sales, said Christine Tavares, choral director.

The students hope to raise a chunk of the funds today at a boutique with 50 vendors at Valencia High School. The boutique runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the school’s small gym.

But Tavares estimates that it’ll take up to 40 more fundraisers to reach the goal by March.

The next big fundraiser is a silent auction in December.

Much like other student organizations and clubs across the William S. Hart Union High School District, Valencia’s choir has seen funding from its student government dwindle as state budget cuts have hit the pockets of school districts.

In years past, the choir would receive $3,500 annually from student government. This year it received nothing, Tavares said.

That has led the students to come up with creative and frequent fundraisers to pay for their expenses.

Valencia High School choir students haven’t been to Carnegie Hall since 2005. This time, students have been invited to give a 30-minute showcase concert, Tavares said.

“We’re most excited to perform in this amazing concert hall,” junior Cristian Guerrero said.

Although Guerrero has been to New York twice, the trip would be the first with his classmates.

“This is a family,” he said. “All of us love to do the same thing.”

Along with learning about composition and performance, Guerrero said he’s learned how to work as part of a team to accomplish goals — such as raising money to get to New York.

“It’s a long way to Carnegie Hall, but we want it so bad,” Guerrero said.

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