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Appalachian Children's Chorus in need of financial help following embezzlement case

The Appalachian Children's Chorus has been a Kanawha Valley mainstay for nearly 30 years, but following a former employee's theft of nearly $100,000 from the organization, it is now in crisis and need of help. (WCHS/WVAH)

The Appalachian Children's Chorus has been a Kanawha Valley mainstay for nearly 30 years, but following a former employee's theft of nearly $100,000 from the organization, it is now in crisis and need of help.

The backbone of the Appalachian Children's Chorus said the impact of the theft of nearly $100,000 by the organization's former executive director Holly Portillo is devastating.

“If we had not received our state line item this year we would be done. It's very hard for me to say that,” Appalachian Children’s Chorus Founding and Artistic Director Selina Midkiff said.

Midkiff said her organization has always stuck close to its budget and managed to build up a small surplus over the years. That is now gone. She said ACC needs help from its friends and backers now more than ever.

“I would ask them if they've ever heard the children, been touched by the kids or even concerned with us right now, our future, send us $25. If all of my graduates would send us $25, you know. If you could, send $10,” Midkiff said.

ACC is the Official Children's Chorus of West Virginia. It's served thousands of young people and traveled all over the globe in its history. Midkiff said her charges not only learn the lessons of music but much more.

“Wherever we go. We've gont to England. We've sung in Prague. We went to Italy. We went to Canada last time we did our big trip. Every place we go these children float to the top because of their artistic excellence but more than that because of their amazing behavior,” Midkiff said.

Midkiff said the realizes the significance of ACC's challenges but she has faith that the chorus will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.

“I'm a woman of God. God called me to this work. This has been a real journey of surrender for me, to know that I trust Him and I believe that He is going to continue to help us. And the people out there who have supported us and loved us all these years, we're asking you to help us out now, especially,” Midkiff said.

Even in the midst of its current storm, the ACC is moving forward.

Its 2018 Appalachian Festival of Young Voices is scheduled for June 22 through June 25, with youth choirs traveling to Charleston from around the country.

It culminates with a concert at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater.

If you'd like to donate to the chorus you can visit their website here.

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