Lawsuit threat cancels Christmas concert

Lawsuit threat cancels Christmas concert
Published: Dec. 4, 2012 at 11:43 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 5, 2012 at 7:04 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A threatened lawsuit had put a halt to what's become a Christmas tradition for members of the Moanalua High School orchestra.

For the past six years, the award-winning group and volunteers from the New Hope Church have raised more than $200,000 for a charity that treats poor people in Africa.

But that all came to a halt on Monday when the Department of Education decided to cancel the concert just four days before the event.

In a letter to the Department of Education, Mitch Kahle, founder of the Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church, took issue with the involvement of New Hope Church, which handles ticket sales and sells those tickets at its services.

"The issue here is an entanglement between a public school and a Christian church," said Kahle.

"And one of the things about the constitution is that it prohibits the involvement of public schools and churches."

Concert volunteer Chad Brownstein said that this year's event has sold more than 600 tickets and would have generated about $30,000 in sales and donations.

"(The students) could have done something that they're good at it and benefit others instead of themselves," Brownstein said.

"So I'm very disappointed that they won't be getting that lesson through that concert anymore."

Concert organizers are still looking at other locations but chances of finding a new place before Christmas that are very slim.

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