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Vocal valentines are a ‘friendraiser’ for choir

Story by Emily Sadecki

Roses are red, violets are blue, this Valentine’s Day Drake University Choir could be singing to you!  It is that time of year again where the store shelves are filling up with chocolate hearts, cards with mushy sayings and enticing jewelry for loved ones.  Drake’s Choir is offering a way to let that special someone know you care in a unique way while benefiting a good cause.

Every year, Drake Choir travels around the Des Moines community to deliver singing valentines to workplaces and homes among other various locations. According to Aimee Beckman-Collier, director of choral arts, they deliver roughly 150 singing valentines annually – an estimated 500 to 600 roses.

Orders will be taken until Feb. 8 and can be placed online at the Drake Music Department’s Singing Valentines webpage, www.drake.edu/valentines or by calling (515) 271-3024. A variety of options are available for people looking to purchase one of these unique valentines. The main three packages range from $25 to $60 with one to a dozen roses. There is also a package tailored to the sometimes tight budgets of students for the Drake campus, costing $10.

Mary Honeyman, senior choir member, has been doing singing valentines since she was a first-year.

“It gets crazy,” said Honeyman.

What is her favorite part?

“The look on people’s faces, you never know what to expect.”

She has been hard at work taking care of much of the logistics of the operation, including taking orders, answering phone calls and training younger members.

The proceeds raised go toward funding the choir’s international tours that happen every four years. Since the university does not fund these trips it is up to the choir students themselves to raise the money. The fundraiser was started 15 years ago and has helped to fund tours across the world.

“We are committed to taking every student in the ensemble,” said Beckmann-Collier.

The unique thing about the fundraiser is that many of the students who are participating are raising money not necessarily for themselves but for classes to come, explained Honeyman.

“It puts into perspective the family of Drake Choir and is very community building,” she said of the experience.

Eric Ferring, a junior vocal performance major, said the Drake Choir is unique in the fact that it spans across all grade levels and disciplines, all coming together to share a love of music.

The singing valentines prove to bring together Drake students and members of the Des Moines community together, while giving the members of the Drake Choir time to bond as well.

As Beckmann-Collier puts it: “We find it to be good every year, a friendraiser as well as a fundraiser.”

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