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December 1, 2005

Choir supremely lucky

The Vacaville Reporter (CA):

The Vallejo-Benicia children's choir Voena was about 20 feet from becoming international news in Washington, D.C., Monday morning when a basketball-sized chunk of marble fell from the top of the U.S. Supreme Court building. Nobody was injured, but some nerves were rattled, parents said in a phone interview.

"It was startling because we were so close," said Teresa White, mother of 16-year-old vocalist Cherise White. "My goodness! It shook the ground."

About 35 members of the a cappella choir and their parents were waiting to enter the 10 a.m. session as part of their trip that includes performing Thursday for President George W. Bush and The First Lady in the Pageant of Peace ceremony. The marble chunk smashed into a number of pieces, White said. Had the choir been on the steps leading to the entrance, it could have been catastrophic, White said. "It happened so quickly. There wouldn't have been anything anyone could have done.

Donna Wapner, mother of Aleza D'Agostino, of Benicia, said "It's good nobody was walking on the steps at the time. It would have killed a person." The chunk of Vermont marble was part of the dentil molding that serves as a frame for nine sculptural figures completed in 1935. Workers loaded roughly 40 pieces into plastic crates and carried them away.

"They let us keep the teeny pieces but made us put the big pieces down," Teresa White said. The front entrance was quickly closed as visitors were herded through the back where the justices enter, White said. "It was the highlight of the kids' day," she said. "Kids like drama."

Posted by acapnews at December 1, 2005 12:02 AM