Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lachey choir joins benefit


A group of Cincinnati Country Day School students has enlisted former Cincinnati resident Nick Lachey and his choir in their efforts to raise money for an AIDS-wracked South African village.

Lachey will bring his 20-member Cincinnati choir, which won NBC reality show “Clash of the Choirs” on Dec. 20, to Music Hall’s ballroom to perform a benefit concert at 8 p.m. on Jan. 18.

Proceeds will go to help Langkloof, South Africa, an impoverished village that several Cincinnati Country Day School juniors have raised more than $950,000 for during the past four years.


Maya Amoils, a Cincinnati Country Day student who instigated the HOPE project, is thrilled that Lachey will be appearing with his “Team Lachey” choir.

“He postponed a trip to California for his grandmother’s 80th birthday to do this concert,” Amoils said. “It’s pretty amazing. And he’s doing it for free.”

Amoils first met Lachey through a friend of her father’s on Labor Day at a benefit concert for the School for the Creative and Performing Arts at the Great American Ball Park. She told him about Help Other People Endure, the non-profit group she and her friends formed to help Langkloof, and asked him about the possibility of his performing at a benefit concert.

Later, she gave her father’s friend a DVD and a brochure about the HOPE project to give to Lachey.

He first agreed to perform at a concert on Jan. 20, but had to cancel a couple of weeks ago because of a planned celebration for his grandmother’s 80th birthday in Los Angeles.

On Dec. 31, Amoils arranged the Jan. 18 date in a conference call with Lachey, who was in Costa Rica, and her father’s friend.

“I said, ‘Won’t that interfere with your trip for your grandmother’s birthday?,” Amoils said. “He said, ‘I’d be happy to push it back a day for you guys.’ He was unbelievably nice.”

It will be the first concert here by the choir with Lachey since their victory on “Clash of the Choirs.” Team Lachey sung on Fountain Square on New Year’s Eve without Lachey. The choir plans to perform only one song, Lachey’s “What’s Left Of Me,” with him that night, says choir member Chuck Merk, who is handling appearance requests for the 20-member group.

“We are not singing our whole set. We’re saving that for the big ‘thank you’ concert being organized by Children’s Hospital,” Merk says. That concert has not yet been scheduled.

Tickets for the Jan. 18 concert will cost $20 in advance and will be available at Music Hall’s box office or online at Tickets will be $25 at door on the night of the concert. There will be 100 VIP tickets available for $100 each. VIP ticket-buyers will have seats in the front rows. The ballroom can hold as many as 1,300 people.

Local rock bands performing at the concert will be: Naranjas Organicas (Indian Hill High School); Weave (Cincinnati Conservatory of Music); Bedhead (St. Xavier High School); and Los Cocodrilos Cubanas (Cincinnati Country Day School).

“We’re hoping this concert will put us over the $1 million mark,” Amoils said.

Lachey isn’t the first heavy hitter to take note of the HOPE project.

Former President Clinton devoted a page-and-a-half to it in his book, “Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World,” which was published last year, and the Clinton Family Foundation gave $10,000 to the project.

Amoils and several classmates formed HOPE, a nonprofit group, when they were eighth-graders. Amoils’ parents, Steve and Sandi Amoils of Madeira, are natives of South Africa.

Sandi Amoils’ sister and brother-in-law, Carol Anne and Chris Mumby, own a hotel near Langkloof and administer the HOPE project at no charge. Many children in the village have lost one or both parents to AIDS.

The village’s benefits from their project so far include daily meals for 350 children, clothing, a renovated preschool, a restored kindergarten, a water supply for the school and the village, a new playground and fruit trees and vegetable gardens.