Oakland choir celebrates purchase of new bus


Shortly after the Pacific Boychoir in Oakland set out to raise $125,000 for a touring bus, the economy hit a sour note.

"Once you do get your foot in the door for corporate money there's less and less of it now," said Tracy Achorn, from the fundraising committee.

Achorn was singing the blues. She was the parent in charge of the seemingly impossible task of raising the money and had to get creative in order to attract the grants.

One key factor was the parents said the corporate donors wanted to know that the non-profits have full support of the community before they give.

"Well it shows outside funders and granters that this is an organization that people have a lot of pride in, that people have a lot of faith in, and that it's one they know is going to be successful," said Achorn.

The small private school held "bus parties" to introduce the corporate donors to the community supporters and every parent agreed to get on the bus and give something. It added up.

"I got recruited. It's all good. It's all for the future of the kids," said Ernest Baskin, a parent.

"It's really going to be a great thing for you guys to have your own bus, so we can go to concerts as the Pacific Boychoir," said Kevin Fox, the choir director.

The small group of resourceful parents convinced corporate donors their Grammy winning choir of 130 boys was worth it.

"They have TV screens!"

"They were playing Star Wars on the TVs," said one boy.
"I like the footrests," said another boy.
"I like the bathroom," said another.

At a time when the non-profit arts are becoming the first casualties of a bear market, the Pacific Boychoir got bullish on their own.

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