RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - The Russellville High School choir is preparing for holiday concerts, while also aiming for a big gift after the holidays. They have been invited to be a featured performer at a choir festival at New York’s Carnegie Hall early next year.
The music program has been on a great two-year run, after performing during the Presidential Inauguration in 2017. That put the school’s musicians on the national radar and raised their profile, prompting the invite from the Big Apple.
The kids give all the credit to director Matthew Foy.
“I think he puts having fun above a good performance,” said Avery Stahl, who also accompanies on piano on some songs. “That’s is a good quality of a teacher in general.”
But to shuffle off from Russellville will cost a pretty penny.
“The total cost of the trip is right around $125,000,” said Foy. “That’s for 55 students traveling with some chaperones. Through the fundraising we've already done and through some support, we anticipate from the school board it's down to about $90,000 to 95,000.”
Boosters have sprung into action.
“One morning I woke up and I asked myself, 'How many cupcakes would I have to bake to make this happen?” said Jane Pittman, who knew the answer was too many. With her granddaughter in the choir, she started a go-fund-me drive and has a full campaign underway with local newspapers and community groups. Now she’s even looking beyond Pope County.
“We're also representing Arkansas,” she said. “Not only Russellville, we're also representing our whole state. When we're on that stage, that's Arkansas. And it will happen. We will get these kids to Carnegie Hall.”