Fundraising An Obstacle for Northwestern Choir Trip
The Northwestern High School Choir needs to see a “significant gain” in fundraising in March or the trip to the Ihlombe Choral Festival will be jeopardized.
Northwestern High School’s choir is counting the days, hours, minutes, seconds, and even milliseconds until it is decided whether or not the group can afford to go to South Africa for a choral festival this summer.
The choir is hoping to send 40 of their members to the Ihlombe (pronounced EEsh-Lohmb) Choral Festival in South Africa July 10-22.
Once there, they will perform in five concerts in five different cities, including Cape Town and Johannesburg, representing Maryland and Prince George’s County as the only American high school confirmed to attend.
The only problem for this award-winning choir: singing comes with a price.
The group is putting considerable efforts into fundraising and campaigning, but they seem to be coming up short of their intended goal of raising $100K by March. Each student has to raise $1,200 on their own, even though the cost per person is $3,600.
“Due to the immense cost of the trip, we rely on donors and grants,” Anthony Bailey, the Vice President of the Friends of the Northwestern Choral Society said, This trip has always been funded and planned by our non-profit partners but we are really hoping things turn around because they are very shaky right now.”
Friends of the Northwestern Choral Society is a nonprofit group that supports the choir’s fundraising needs, similar to a athletic team or band booster club.
“We started planning this trip two years ago,” Bailey continued, “and where we are right now is nowhere near where we want to be.”
Students involved in the choir are participating in a letter-writing campaign to ask for TV and radio spots to help advertise for the group. There is also a “$10 Campaign” on the Northwestern High School Choir’s website, which allows donors to give as much as they can for support.
The other obstacle: the choir is on the festival’s list of performers as confirmed participants and if they can’t raise all the money necessary to participate, they would have to revoke their spot in the program.
“We’re at a very scary point,” said Artistic Director Leona M. Lowery. “If we don’t get enough money we would have to cancel and then we would owe money. The longer we wait, the more we will be in debt.”
Although the choir has traveled to over a dozen places throughout the country in the past, they have never performed at an international level.
Students will also have the opportunity to build houses and participate in other humanitarian experiences.
“There is a possibility they’re not going to have this opportunity again. It could be life-changing and you just don’t know this inspiration this could bring to these kids,” Bailey added.
Lowery said the goal is not to pull out.
“ I want to keep going. The goal is by the end of March we have got to see significant gain or else we will owe so very much.”
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