GILFORD — When Kenny Rogers makes his final farewell Christmas tour at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord on Sunday, 31 members of the Gilford Concert Choir will join him for three or four songs.
Band and chorus director Denise Sanborn said this concert is one of her more memorable moments as a teacher.
"I grew up in Vermont in a musical family," she said. "There were eight of us kids and my dad played the mandolin. Kenny Rogers was kind of a part of our musical family."
She said the road to the Capital Center concert came through the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook. The concert choir sang with the rock band Foreigner last summer after producing a video as part of a contest as to who would provide some backup singing.
She said Rogers usually has a chorus of singers from Massachusetts for his New England tours, but for his final Christmas tour, he reached out to the individual states where he would be performing. She said Rogers' people contacted R.J. Harding, the owner of Meadowbrook and he suggested the Gilford Concert Choir.
Sanborn said the choir was sent a set of songs they were to rehearse in September and practiced until December. She said in the past two weeks they've had a few scheduled rehearsals and a couple of impromptu ones.
She said all of the choir members will meet Sunday and travel to Concord in the afternoon where they will rehearse with Rogers during the afternoon for the 7:30 p.m. show.
Sanborn said the students are really excited because while many of them are too young to be really familiar with Rogers' entire body of work, she said all of them know him from a GEICO commercial featuring Rogers sitting at a poker table and singing "The Gambler" – one of his more famous songs – as his exasperated friends give him the evil eye.
The Rogers tour will be making a donation to the Gilford Concert Choir for their Sunday efforts.
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