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501(c)3 status

My community choir is in the process of applying for 501(c)3 status.  The group was turned down a few years ago, but I'm not sure why (I wasn't involved at that point).  We recently met with a Community Foundation representative, and she told us that the reason why we were turned down is more that likely because our members pay dues.  She indicated that 501(c)3 groups cannot charge dues. 
My question:  I know of other choral groups that charge dues who have received 501(c)3 status.  Those of you who direct a community choir, does your group have 501(c)3 status?  Do you charge dues?  Did anyone ever tell you that you couldn't charge dues if you were a 501(c)3 organization? 
I am meeting with a lawyer in a week to discuss this issue, and I would really appreciate any information you can give me before that time.  Thank you so much!
Thank you so much!
Christina Lamb
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