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Patrons of the arts Sandy and Joan Weill could easily have written a $45,000 check to the Santa Rosa High choral students working day and night to raise the last of the money needed for a dream performance in Carnegie Hall.

But you know what? Michelle Glaubiger, a parent, booster and chief organizer of the NYC-or-bust fundraising quest, is glad the Weills offered instead to donate $15,000 — IF the SRHS concert choir and its adult helpers could first raise $30,000.

The matching offer, made by the Weills just a month ago, “really excited and inspired and incentivized everybody,” Glaubiger said.

Doubly energized students, parents and supporters of Santa Rosa High’s concert choir pushed hard, dug deep and gathered up even more than the required $30,000. The Weills, who several years back made key donations to the project to construct the Green Music Center at Sonoma State, cut the Santa Rosa High Choral Music Boosters a check for the promised $15,000.

The boosters now have banked the $100,000 needed to send director Kira Bombace’s 53 concert choir students to New York City, plus a bit more.

With the extra, said Glaubiger, “I’m going to be able to feed kids while we’re there.”

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THEY FLY APRIL 26

The trip’s centerpiece is the students’ appearance in an invitational national honor choir to perform at Carnegie Hall the evening of April 29. If you can go, tickets to the 8:30 p.m. Masterwork Festival Chorus performance are available at carnegiehall.org.

The students learned at the start of school last fall that Bombace had applied to the concert series in New York and they were accepted, but needed to pay the travel, lodging and other costs of nearly $2,000 each.

Members of the concert choir set to work plotting ways to raise money.

Then the October fires struck.

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SEVERAL OF THE KIDS lost their homes. Valuable fundraising time was lost while school was closed. Many families were in post-disaster turmoil and it suddenly was much tougher for many people inside and out of SRHS to contribute money to the New York trip — the sensible thing seemed to be to back out.

Michele Glaubiger was not an advocate of the sensible thing. She argued that the only way students and grownups would know if they could raise the money was to try.

With the decision to go for it, prize raffles and See’s Candy sales and bake sales were mounted, a GoFundMe page was created and a big push was made to promote the annual Singing Valentine’s benefit.

The effort was about $45,000 short when it came to the attention of the Weills, who live part-time in Sonoma and who made possible the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Sandy Weill phoned Kira Bombace on March 2 and offered the $15,000 matching grant. Fired-up boosters and students struck out and talked up the challenge, sparking a flood of donations from school and professional musical groups, family foundations and individual donors near and far.

On April 17, the Weills will come to Santa Rosa High to hear the choir rehearse, and to be thanked.

At 4 a.m. on the 26th, the kids board a bus to SFO.

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.

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