Hollidaysburg students rehearse before Kenny Rogers performance

A Hollidaysburg Area High School chorus will sing with Kenny Rogers on Friday in his upcoming concert at the Jaffa Shrine.

ALTOONA -- A Hollidaysburg Area High School chorus will sing with Kenny Rogers on Friday in his upcoming concert at the Jaffa Shrine.

When Rogers' team asked the chorus, known as Fantasia, to perform in his show, chorus director Wendy Jo Nagy said they couldn't turn it down.

"We have never done anything like this, so this was quite an honor to have been asked to participate in his program," Nagy said.

The students' families are thrilled, and many plan to attend the show, which is one of Rogers' stops on his "Gambler's Last Deal" final world tour.

"When I told my mom she went crazy," senior Jamie Emerick said.

The ensemble of 36 students takes the chorus seriously, practicing their skills daily.

"We like to sound good," senior Josh Redinger said, adding that the students hold themselves to a high standard.

Redinger was one of the students who was familiar with Rogers' music.

"I would always put on his Pandora station whenever my family and I were playing cards," he said.

Even the students who didn't listen to his music often before said they still appreciate the opportunity to share the stage with a big name.

"As a group, we really work together as a team to try to be better as a whole because that's what it's about really when it's music. It's not about oneself, it's about how we all sound and how we want people listening to us to hear it, and what they want to feel," senior Abby Betar said.

Some of the students have been honing their vocal skills for years together.

"We're like a family. I know everybody probably says that, but we're really tight," Emerick said.

"I'm proud to say that many of these students I've had for four, five, six years, having started with them in seventh grade chorus, so it's been a real journey for all of us," Nagy said.

Her students credit her for their skills.

"I enjoy going to class everyday and seeing her smiling," Redinger said.

"She's considerate, humble and kind, and she really knows what she's doing," Emerick said, adding, "She's amazing. I couldn't live without her."

The students think that, with graduation not too far down the road, what a perfect way to wrap up their singing career at the high school than Friday's big show.

"I'm ending on a high note, and that's the perfect way to go," Betar said with a pun unintended.

Rogers will perform with Fantasia at 7:30 p.m.

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