A 5-foot-tall replica of the Eiffel Tower is a practical and symbolic fixture that often travels with the Delta High School Acappella Choir these days.
The choir has been invited by the French government to perform in Paris inside the Notre Dame Cathedral and on the Normandy beach as part of a summerlong celebration of the bicentennial of the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789.The 90-member choir, directed by David Wanker, is now in an intensive fund-raising mode and has collected almost $30,000 toward the $164,000 the nine-day trip will cost.
French officials hired an Arizona-based booking company to scout out 50 high schools, one from each state, that would be interested in making the trip to France. "They notified us we were one of the choruses being considered to represent Utah," said Jane Ekins, a bookkeeper at the high school whose son, Kenneth, is a member of the choir.
The booking company later confirmed Delta's choir would represent the state. Gov. Norm Bangerter and Delta Mayor Ruth Hansen are also scheduled to go.
Ekins said Delta's choir will also be one of only two of the United States' participants to sing inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The choir will also sing in Buckingham Palace in London during the trip.
On July 2, which is to be dubbed "Utah Day" in the celebration, the choir will sing at the Eiffel Tower. They also plan a concert on the Normandy beach and will be taking a memorial wreath from the American Legion, Ekins said.
"All of the songs will be oriented to the West - Utah songs and things of that nature," Ekins said. "We're representing the state of Utah and we're proud to do that. We want them to know in Paris we are proud of our state."
A group of parents of the choir members meets each Monday in Delta to help plan appearances and solicit donations to raise the $164,000 by the May 1 deadline.
The Golden Eagles sold $7 tickets to the choir for $1.25 each for the Wednesday night game against Indianapolis. The choir resold the tickets for $5 and raised about $900, Ekins said.
"We did really well. We were really tickled with what we got because we are so far away (from Salt Lake)."
The choir has scheduled two New Year's Eve dances, balloon sales, video-tape sales, car washes, family portrait sales and other ventures arranged with local businesses. The group is also soliciting corporate and foundation sponsorships.
"By the 23rd of this month we will be over $30,000," she said. "The kids have been doing five to seven performances a week. Last night they performed for the IHC hospital here, and the hospital donated $2,000."
The art department at Delta High made the replica of the Eiffel Tower the choir takes with it when it performs. The tower also doubles as a drop box for donations.
The school district created a foundation to facilitate tax deductible contributions to the choir's trip. Anyone interested in contributing to the choir can send a check made out to the Millard School District Foundation to Delta High School, 50 W. 300 North, Delta, UT 84624.