Knoxville students perform National Anthem at CMA fest

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE (WATE) – The CMA Fest in Nashville wrapped up Sunday night, and some students from Central High School Knoxville headed back to East Tennessee with some amazing memories.

The Bobcat Company choir performed the National Anthem in front of thousands at Nissan Stadium.

It is the same choir country music star Kelsea Ballerini belonged to as a student.

The choir prepared for a few weeks to perform.

“They were all kind of terrified until sound check and then kind of got their nerves out and all that, but it’s pretty cool. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these kids,” said Director Matthew Parks.

Their school and choir are well-known as being where Ballerini got her start. She was beaming with pride for the current students Saturday night.

“It’s really cool to have them here tonight. They’re singing in front of like 62,000 people. I saw them earlier and was like are you guys nervous. They were like yep and I was like yeah yeah you should be,” she laughed.

Students’ nerves were building for a performance that lasted just about a minute and a half, but it is a brief moment in time they will never forget.

“Getting to go out on sound check and getting to just stand on that stage and perform for everybody, especially the national anthem, was just very humbling,” said choir member and new graduate Erica Burton.

Ballerini, now used to being on the big stage, cheered them on the whole time. It was a reminder of where she got her start.

“It was just a really special time and group for me,” she said.

Now they are back to Knoxville with one more thing checked off their bucket list.

“I was just like, we’re here. We’re performing the national anthem at the CMAs!” Burton said.

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