Central High School choir to open at CMA Fest

KNOXVILLE (WATE) — School may be out for the summer, but the choir at Central High School is making sure their voices are heard, outside the classroom, on stage in Nashville at this year’s CMA Music Festival.

“Central High School has been invited to the CMA Fest to sing the national anthem to open up the festival so that’s pretty cool,” said Central High Choir student, and now alumnae, Abigayle DeBusk.

It’s no secret country artist Kelsea Ballerini once walked the same halls as the choir students at Central, and Beckye Thomas was her music teacher before retiring after more than 30 years of teaching music.

DeBusk says the CMA Foundation recently brought Thomas and Ballerini back to halls of Central to shoot a story about improving music education.

Now, you could say things are coming full circle with Thomas’ former students, under the new direction of Mr. Parks,  making their musical debut in the home of country music.

“It feels really good especially knowing that it’s the nation’s national anthem, that just it puts like a sense of pride in you and you know you just have to go on the stage and own it,” said fellow choir member Katie Bethcrye.

Come Saturday night in Music City, that is exactly what they will do.

“Thousands, a whole lot in Nissan Stadium. There’s going to be so many people. Probably more than I’ve ever performed in front of,” says choir student, Kayley Siler.

They only found out a few weeks before school let out that they would soon perform on the same stage as some of the top country music artists like Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood and of course, Kelsea Ballerini.

“It’s pretty cool it shows you that anything is possible and that anything you set your mind to you can achieve and that no dream is too big,” said Betchcrye.

“I think that it’s very important for the music education aspect of it that the CMA Fest, that’s what they’re trying to do, gain awareness and raise money for music education and I’m glad that we can contribute to that,” said Siler.

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