The TuHS Concert Choir is just $11,000 from its $60,000 goal

TUALATIN - In May, as students in the Tualatin High concert choir stand on a newly constructed stage in Jamestown, Va., belting out patriotic songs in front of dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth of England and President Bush, one has to wonder if they'll remember what it took to get them there.

Cow-chip bingo, summer camp, concerts, car washes, raffles and numerous other fund-raisers in the last 10 months have helped to put the choir just $11,000 away from its goal of $60,000 to help pay for the trip of a lifetime.

The choir plans to represent the state of Oregon in a 50-state, 1,600-member commemorative choir that will perform in front of an audience of thousands that is expected to include dignitaries from the United States and Great Britain.

America's 400th anniversary in Jamestown - an event that will celebrate the site of the first permanent English settlement in North America - is expected to draw a crowd of 90,000 people over the course of the three-day event, May 11 to May 13.

And while students in the choir are already envisioning the bragging rights as the only choir from Oregon to be invited to perform at such a stellar event, they aren't there yet.

The choir plans to hold a benefit dinner April 27, hand out flyers for the city's Tualatin Tomorrow program April 28 and continue its offer to perform concerts for organizations willing to take up donations for the choir's trip.

Choir members will also continue selling raffle tickets Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Haggen Food and Pharmacy until April 27. The choir is raffling off gift baskets, a night stay in a Shilo Inn and a stay at a Trend West Resort.

'We're getting close to our goal,' said choir director Kim Kroeger. 'We're just looking for a big push for the end of the fund-raising.'

Christi McCauley, whose son David is a member of the choir, called the fund-raising efforts a labor of love and hate.

'I hate bugging people for money,' McCauley admitted. 'But it gives the community an opportunity to participate in the trip, helping (the choir) get there.'

And while McCauley and her husband have contributed hundreds of hours in helping with the fund-raising, McCauley noted, 'I just know that the end result will be worth it.'

Tualatin High senior Phil Lancaster said it wasn't until three weeks ago when the magnitude and honor of the Jamestown trip hit him.

'I can't even think of any other opportunity when I'll get to see the queen of England or the president of the United States, except for watching the State of the Union Address on TV,' he said.

'It's going to be cool.'

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