The invitation was officially extended to the choir by state Rep. Eric Watson at the choir’s holiday performance Thursday.
“Each year a school is chosen ... and you’ve got an invitation to come to perform in front of the governor and the whole General Assembly,” Watson said.
Anticipation for the announcement had built throughout the concert. Many students had tried to figure out what the announcement would be prior to the concert by asking chorus director Cara Rogers.
As soon as the announcement was made the gymnasium erupted in clapping and cheers. Choir member responses ranged from joyful shock to extreme excitement.
The journey to Nashville for the students began with an email Rogers sent to local representatives exploring the option of singing on the steps of the Capitol building.
“This year I wanted to see if there was a different experience available that would be meaningful to them (the students),” Rogers said.
Rogers received an email from Eric Watson’s office, inviting the choir to sing for the General Assembly during a session in March.
“We were just thrilled,” Rogers said.
The chorus will sing The Star-Spangled Banner for the legislature on March 21, 2013.
The chorus director said she thinks the trip will be memorable and meaningful for her students.
“I think what excites me the most is they will be able to see our state lawmakers in session,” Rogers said.
Keeping the coming announcement a secret was a challenge for Rogers as students began asking where their annual choir trip would be in the spring. In the past, the choir has performed at Dollywood. The only thing Rogers told the students before Thursday was they would not be singing at Dollywood.
The chorus director said the chorus will begin practicing for the event when the students come back from Christmas vacation. Students will choose the arrangement in which the song will be sung. Getting the chorus members involved in creating the performance style is something Rogers piloted last year and plans to continue.
Michigan Avenue Elementary School Chorus is an audition chorus of 50 students. Rogers said students usually sing a song they learned in music class for their audition. The chorus has weekly practices after school.