According to president Valerie Lape, for the past several years the Peninsula Singers hoped to have enough money after the concert season to provide a scholarship for students - and each year there wasn't extra cash.
Finally this past spring, just in time for the group's 20th anniversary season, Lape decided to solve the problem once and for all - the result is the Peninsula Singers first dinner and auction fundraising gala, entitled "Dinner with Dewey," named after their beloved conductor.
"I thought a wonderful auction item would be dinner at Dewey's house, so I asked his wife Lauretta if she would be willing to make a meal," Lape explained. "She said 'Sure, but I don't do the cooking, Dewey does.' So it's perfect."
For the highest bidder, Ehling, who retired to the peninsula after a full career of teaching elementary through college-level music, will provide a night of entertainment including a home-cooked meal and, of course, music.
Other auction items include a Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club quilt, five January nights in a condo in Kauai and several pieces of jewelry and art prints.
"We have a lot of one-of-a-kind things, all donated by the community," Lape said.
In addition to raising extra money for scholarships, Lape said there is another reason for the fundraiser: the 2008-2009 concert season is expected to be slightly costlier than previous seasons due in large part to the celebratory spring concert "St. Matthew Passion," a Johann Sebastian Bach tribute that takes more choruses and soloists than usual.
"It's a much bigger production," Lape said. "We want to make sure we'll be OK for it."
Other new concerts this year include a Dec. 21 "Christmas Sing-a-long," which the Singers said they are doing for the first time.
"It's geared toward people who don't normally get to sing Christmas carols," Lape explained. "We want the community to come in and just have fun."
Lape said she and the 60 or so other members of the group want to be able to contribute to the new music concert hall that is planned for near Carrie Blake Park and hope the funds raised at the gala will help them do that as well.
"We've never done this before, but we hope to make it a regular thing if it works," Lape said. "It's a fun way to kick off our 20th anniversary season."
The Sept. 13 fundraiser goes from 5-9 p.m. at the SunLand Golf and Country Club and costs $40 per person. The meal, the "100-Mile Dinner," is to be created solely from locally grown and harvested foods, within 100 miles of Sequim. To reserve a seat, call Peninsula Singers president Valerie Lape as soon as possible at 461-7019.
Peninsula Singers 2008-09 Concert Season
• Dinner with Dewey
Fundraising dinner and auction gala
SunLand Golf and Country Club
• Monday Musicale
Concert featuring a guest appearance
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
• Thoughts of Heritage and Peace
Nov. 22 and 23
Trinity United Methodist Church
• Christmas Sing-a-long
Trinity United Methodist Church
• St. Matthew Passion
A Johann Sebastian Bach spring concert
March 29, 2009
Port Angeles High School
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