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BRIDE-TO-BE DIDN'T HAVE TO REHEARSE GROOM'S SURPRISE PROPOSAL WAS PART OF VALENTINE'S DAY CONCERT.

Byline: Carol Rock Staff Writer

VALENCIA - It was a night to remember, not just for the couple involved, but for the audience enjoying the Valentine's Day Gershwin concert at the Vital Express Center, when Dan Zehfuss got down on one knee before Kelley Voorhees to ask for her hand in marriage.

A collective gasp went up from the audience at the performing arts center at College of the Canyons. Speechless, the bride-to-be nodded her answer enthusiastically, which prompted a standing ovation.

It was the culmination of a lot of backstage planning and espionage, but Zehfuss was thrilled with the result.

``I wanted us to remember that night whenever we drove by or went to the farmers market at the college,'' he said. ``And since we have season tickets, I thought maybe I could do something during the show.''

He contacted college theater manager Karen Schmidt, who put him in touch with the performers, including singer Ray Saar, who got things going. They were more than happy to add the romantic element to their show.

``Ray was really great. He called us up on stage during a song ``Bla Bla Bla,'' which is about how men communicate with women,'' Zehfuss said. ``He said he was going to teach a couple chosen from the audience, but of course, it was all set up before.''

The setup involved a ruse Schmidt orchestrated, masking off Zehfuss' regular seats as broken and making sure the couple arrived at the box office early to get the special aisle seats she'd saved for them.

As a flower provider for Costco, Voorhees had been working a string of 15-hour days to make sure all stores were covered for Valentine's Day. Monday night, Zehfuss called and told her they had to get to the theater early to exchange their seats.

``I couldn't believe it. We had just sat in those seats on Saturday,'' she said. ``I harangued him for 15 minutes about the switch: 'This is a brand-new theater with plenty of money and plenty of time to fix broken seats for season ticket holders.' I felt later on that something might be up, but I never imagined it would be this.''

Schmidt said this was the first proposal in the theater.

``His initial idea was do to something before the show or during intermission,'' she said. ``I offered to talk with the performers and they thought it was a terrifically fun idea to incorporate into the show. He even came in to rehearse Tuesday afternoon.''

``They were singing around her, then Ray paused and asked if I got it,'' Zehfuss said. ``I took the microphone and recited Scripture to her while I took the ring out of my pocket. About halfway through, she realized I was proposing.''

``He had it all memorized and said it slowly and clearly,'' Voorhees recalled. ``When he got down on one knee, I tried to shut the noise of the audience out and listen to him, but I don't remember a lot of it. He gave me a copy written on parchment paper later.''

People gasped - and then there was dead silence.

``It was a pretty incredible moment, especially when I realized I wasn't getting dragged on stage to do a silly dance, that it was something much more important,'' Voorhees said.

``We even had a couple of women in the back who were teary-eyed,'' Schmidt said. ``It came off wonderfully and was a terrific thing to do.''

The proposal wasn't the only surprise of the night.

``People were coming up and congratulating us and asked if we had a date picked out,'' she said. ``Dan said, 'As of a matter of fact, we do: July 8.' I asked him what he was talking about and he said it was a year and a day from our first date.''

``He is the most amazing, loving, Christian man I have ever met,'' she said. ``He loves his friends, his family and has a joy for living.''

Zehfuss, 45, a surveyor for the city of Los Angeles, and Voorhees, 37, have been dating ever since she played a hunch last summer and went to a farmers market in Newhall one Thursday afternoon.

``We were in the same Weight Watchers group and he kept talking about the farmers market,'' Voorhees said. ``I thought he might like me, so I went to the market and he happened to be there.''

A week later, they had their first formal date, at Le Chene French Cuisine restaurant in Agua Dulce.

The July nuptials will be the first for both Zehfuss and Voorhees.

Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252

carol.rock(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color) Dan Zehfuss proposed to Kelley Voorhees onstage during the Gershwin concert on Valentine's Day.

(2) Kelley Voorhees and Dan Zehfuss share a kiss after she accepted his proposal. The couple plan to marry July 8.

David Crane/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 17, 2006
Words:818
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