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Jesse Black, community member in PSU choir, Brock Willard, community member in PSU choir, and Andrew Ortolani, junior in biology, sit in the Oval to sell books during the “Mystery” book sale on Tuesday, Feb. 18. The books were covered in newspaper with the topic on the cover. Lesly Bocanegra

PSU Choir hosts “mystery” book sale fundraiser

The PSU Choir held a “mystery” book sale fundraiser from Tuesday, Feb. 18 to Wednesday, Feb. 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Oval each day. The proceeds will go towards the PSU touring choir’s trip to Austria and the Czech Republic in March during spring break.   

“Every two years the choir goes on a performance tour, to either some international destination or some domestic location,” said Brock Willard, organizer of the fundraiser and former PSU student. “This year, we’re going to Austria and the Czech Republic… We took a vote and that’s how it ended up.” 

The fundraiser was a “mystery” book sale as all the books were wrapped up by choir members in non-descript paper and only given a genre on the paper. Those who bought a book would simply pick the genre they wanted and would uncover the “mystery” once they had purchased the book and unwrapped it.  

“I like surprises, it’s kind of exciting and I like to read, and I wanted to get some surprise that day,” said junior in communication Jackie Chang.  

Chang walked by the choir’s table after hearing about the fundraiser by friends and bought a collection of short stories and a thriller novel. Chang also wanted the opportunity to support an on-campus group. 

“It doesn’t cost you too much, and you can help the people and organization,” Chang said. “…You’re buying a book (and) you’re getting more knowledge. So, it’s helping both sides.” 

The books were priced from one dollar to five dollars depending on the book’s size and quality. The books were received through donations from the community. 

“It’s an easy fundraiser… (and) it does itself,” Willard said. “You don’t have to spend any money to do this… People come by and realize the books are only one to five dollars, so they’re not out anything if they don’t like it it’s just, ‘oh, I don’t like it, but I can re-gift it and I donated to a good cause.” 

Willard got the idea for the “mystery” aspect of a book fundraiser after seeing its success when he previously did it while fundraising for a PSU music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. 

“I was scrolling through Instagram and saw the Sigma Alpha Iota (a music sorority) and a chapter somewhere else did it so he pitched the idea to the fraternity here and they said it’s good,” Willard said. 

According to Willard, the fundraiser generally raises around $150 to $200.  

“It’s all profit, since it doesn’t cost anything to host the fundraiser,” he said. 

Member of the PSU traveling choir and junior in biology Andrew Ortolani volunteered at the fundraiser. This trip will be Ortolani’s first time out of the country, and he believes supporting groups from Pitt State is important.  

“Even if you’re not interested in music history or music in general, performance wise, we are part of the college and it’s nice to get help from people,” Ortolani said. “…I think that’s great having people support us like that.” 

The section from the choir that will go on the trip will perform in various cathedrals in Austria and the Czech Republic as well as watch the opera “Fidelio” by Ludwig van Beethoven in the venue it premiered in originally. They will also have opportunities for sight-seeing as well as visiting the Theresienstadt concentration camp where one of the pieces they will perform is using text from a poem that was written there. 

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