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Next L.A. | Ideas: Fund- Raising

Hitching a Ride on Stars : Choir to Raise Funds for Trip by Auctioning Celebrities' Donated Items

May 07, 1996|SARAH A. KLEIN

Professional fund-raisers told the school choir not to expect much return from writing letters to celebrities around the world, asking for items to auction.

Wrong.

Prince Albert of Monaco sent an autographed T-shirt and photo.

"20/20" host Hugh Downs donated an autographed Giorgio Armani tie.

And Elton John sent a score from "The Lion King."

The choir at Orange High School needed help to raise money for a trip to Europe.

Members sent almost 3,000 personal letters to well-known figures such as Princess Diana, Robert Redford, Stephen Sondheim and others.

At last count, 120 items from celebrities had been donated for an auction to be held May 19 at the high school in Orange.

Playwright Dale Wasserman, who wrote "Man of La Mancha," was especially generous.

"He's been sending all kinds of things," said choir member Jonathan Terech, 15.

"It's just amazing," said Tarra Loftus, 16. "I didn't think we would get this much. I didn't think they would really care."

The proceeds will be used for the school's Concert Choir and Chamber Singers trip in July to perform at Westminster Abbey in England, Sacre Coeur and Notre Dame in France and other European venues.

The choir must raise $30,000 at the auction to reach its $143,000 goal.

Students and parents organizing the event said they have no idea how much the items, such as ballet slippers from the American Ballet Theatre, might bring, especially because some say they are willing to pay plenty to keep some of donated items.

"I am going to have to bid on the Elton John score and the CD autographed by [composer] Danny Elfman," said Lindsey Webb, 16. "Whatever it takes, it's going to be mine."

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