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Singing Deliveries

By performing Carol-Grams, the Illinois Valley Central High School Chorale Booster Club in Chillicothe, Illinois brings holiday joy to the local community, while raising money for its program. 

In Chillicothe, Ill., finding the perfect gift to send to hard-to-shop-for relatives might have been a bit easier for some this year. The Illinois Valley Central High School Chorale held its third annual Carol-Gram fundraiser, which was promoted as a novelty gift to send to family members and coworkers. For a $20 donation, the IVC High School Chorale sang three Christmas carols, and delivered a card and a plate of homemade cookies to the recipient.

"You're going to have a lot that are relatives who want to give something to Aunt Susie, but they can't think of anything to get her," says IVC Chorale Booster Club member Amy Greer. "What a cool thing to have her nephew come in and sing to her with his buddies."

Along with singing to chorale members' families and area businesses, the group tried to meet special requests. "We had a business offer to donate $100 for us to come and sing for 10 or 15 minutes at its Christmas open house," Greer says. "That's $100 more than we had 15 minutes ago. We've had a few people ask us to come sing at Christmas parties, too. So there are really a lot of different ways we've done it."

This year, there were about 16 students who participated in the Carol-Gram fundraiser, which lasted for a couple hours each of its two nights. The club tries to limit its "delivery area" to a 10-12 mile radius around the school, in order to keep transportation costs and travel time limited. "We basically set it up for a Friday and Saturday night," Greer says, "And we really didn't want to go beyond 8:30 or 9 o'clock, since we started at about 6 o'clock and wanted to get the kids home at a decent time. Although on Friday we started earlier, because we got some requests to go to people's work."

In order to have a successful event, though, just getting the word out about the fundraiser may not be enough. "Don't just say that it all goes to the booster club." Greer warns. "People want to know what they're helping you achieve. They want to be part of it, so tell them why you're raising money. It's boring to them if it's just going to the boosters. If it's helping with something else, and they get to be part of it, they'll be more interested. This year, for example, we were raising money to use in our scholarship fund for a group trip to New York City."
 
Along with this advice, Greer has some practical tips for other groups who are interested in this type of fundraiser:


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