A Georgia-based high school choir will have their dreams of gracing the stage at Carnegie Hall realized thanks to a boost from comedian and actor Chris Tucker. According to NBC 12, the Atlanta native surprised scholars and faculty at Ola High School with a donation to help them reach their fundraising goal to perform in New York City.
The choir was invited to perform at the world-renowned venue in February 2020, but plans were derailed due to the pandemic. Since receiving the invitation, students, teachers and the local McDonough community have collectively hosted fundraisers to make the trip possible. The choir set out to raise $201,579.25 to cover the travel expenses for 75 singers and 20 chaperones, but fell short of their goal.
“We have been fighting for two years to make this once in a lifetime performance happen and we are so close,” read a statement from the choir’s director Mindy Forehand on the singing group’s GoFundMe page. “We have done close to 40 fundraisers, volunteered for numerous community events, supported other organizations and sporting events, passed out sponsorship forms to over 400 businesses. Anything we could think of to get our kids to Carnegie Hall. We know life is hard for everyone. We are just trying to do everything we can think of to get our kids there.”
After learning about their story on the local news, Tucker stepped in to contribute the remaining funds needed to ensure the choir could seize the opportunity. He recently stopped by the school to surprise the students and teachers and inform them that the expenses would be covered through his nonprofit the Chris Tucker Foundation. “I saw on the news yesterday, on Channel 2, that you guys just needed a little bit more money for your trip,” Tucker shared, according to the news outlet. “I just happened to turn on the TV, and I said, ‘This is what the foundation is about,’ and it makes me feel so good, and I’m so honored to be able to do this for you guys.” The Ola High School choir is slated to perform at Carnegie Hall on June 20.
News about Tucker’s act of generosity comes weeks after he joined businessman and philanthropist Robert F. Smith in Harlem to unveil a mobile prostate cancer screening bus designed to address racial health disparities.