Oh, what a beautiful idea

N.C. performers to record "Oklahoma" to send to tornado victims
Jun. 24, 2013 @ 09:57 AM

A simple question posed to his Facebook friends is manifesting into an event beyond any of Nathan Alston’s expectations.
In late May, tornadoes ripped through Oklahoma City and Moore, Okla., killing dozens and leaving many without homes or schools.
After learning of the devastation, Alston said the first thing that came to mind was the hope and courage of the 1943 musical “Oklahoma!”
“Wouldn’t it be great if we sang the song ‘Oklahoma’ and sent it to the people of Oklahoma?” he posted.
The question was followed by such a positive response that Alston created an event. Within 24 hours, he said, more than 80 people had signed up. The group now has nearly 150 performers. Alston said he hopes for 250, a perfect size for the venue.
The venue, filming crew and rights to the song all were provided for free, Alston said.
A native of Greensboro who has performed around the world for the past 22 years, Alston said he invites people from High Point, Winston-Salem and beyond to get involved.
Lynn Rountree, a lifelong High Point resident, said when she saw the Facebook invitation, she didn’t hesitate to join.
“I can’t physically go out there to help, but this is something I can do,” said Rountree, an alto in the First Presbyterian Church choir. “I smile every time I think about it.”
Rountree said she grew up learning to play songs from the musical on the piano for Ferndale Junior High and High Point Central High choruses.
“‘Oklahoma!’ is an American staple,” Alston said of the show that includes iconic songs like, “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” and “Oklahoma.”
Alston is asking anyone interested in helping, whether or not they sing, to donate $10. The money will go directly to the Oklahoma chapter of the American Red Cross.
The goal is to raise $5,000, Alston said, but more importantly, to raise spirits.
“All they hear is, ‘Sorry about this’ and ‘Sorry about that,’” Alston said of the victims. “But we want to give them hope. If we can bring a smile to their faces, even for 5 minutes, it would make a world of difference.”


Want to help?
• To sing: Join the Facebook group “NC Performers Unite for Oklahoma” or email Nathan Alston at nathanalston@me.com. Spots are limited and guaranteed based on voice parts, so be sure to specify yours.
• To volunteer: Post on the Facebook group or email Alston.
• To donate supplies: Businesses wishing to donate bottled water or other needed supplies should email Alston.
• To donate money: Visit the event’s Crowdrise page.

The Event
Free and open to the public
Date: July 3
Time: 6 p.m. rehearsal, 8:30 p.m. filming
Where: Taylor Building on UNC-Greensboro’s campus (near the corner of Spring Garden and Tate streets)