August 1 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, July 5, 2014
A choir from Hawaii which looked set to miss out on the trip of a lifetime to perform in Ely Cathedral has been rescued thanks, in part, to a donation from Hollywood superstars Will and Jada Smith.
The 25-strong Hawaii Sacred Choir was preparing to make the 7,000-mile journey to Ely this month but, just weeks before departure, they were devastated to find they had lost most of their funding and were forced to make a desperate appeal for help.
Hawaii-based broadcaster KITV took up their cause and, by sheer co-incidence, actors Will and Jada Smith were enjoying a break on the pacific island and saw the appeal.
Representatives for the couple, famous for starring in Men in Black and Collateral respectively, got in touch with the choir and agreed to donate $10,000 – about £6,000.
A second donation of $10,000 from Dick and Jan Yamagami, who were on holiday from San Francisco, meant that the choir had almost every penny of the $70,000 (£40,000) needed to make the trip.
Daniel Werning, choirmaster of Hawaii Sacred Choir, said: “The Hawai’i Sacred Choir will be going to England to sing at Ely Cathedral–thanks to the generosity of our local community and to two very generous donations from two couples visiting Hawai’i who saw the KITV newscast
“We hope that the generosity of Will and Jada Smith and Dick and Jan Yamagami will inspire our local Hawai’i community to help us raise a few more funds for the choir so that we can put back in the lunches and dinners we have had to cut out.”
The choir is expected to arrive in the city this week and will be performing evensong at Ely Cathedral on Monday (July 7) at 5.30pm.