Most students head home after the end of the spring semester and graduation. But a group of Pratt Community College singers is heading to Tennessee immediately after graduation for a working vacation of sorts.
The PCC Encore group is heading to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., to do a live performance at the County Tonite Theater and also at “The Island” one of the tourist attraction areas in Pigeon Forge.
Also in Pigeon Forge, the group will do a rehearsal and concert just for friends in the area including Kellye (Pritchet) Huesman, a PCC grad who works at Dollywood.
Part of this trip is to give the students the opportunity to meet with a former student who is working in the industry and learn from her experience, said Misty Beck, PCC drama instructor.
While in Pigeon Forge, the group will also visit Dollywood, where Huesman works as a performer, and take in the shows there and in Pigeon Forge. While this is a performance trip, it is also designed to give the students plenty of time to enjoy the entertainment aspect of the area.
The group will also visit Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountain National Park.
On the return trip, Encore will stop in Nashville and visit the County Western Hall of Fame and do a show there.
They travel on to Memphis and perform at Graceland. They will also have an evening on Beale Street, famous for clubs featuring blues style music.
In total the group will see from 10 to 12 shows and perform at least four times, possibly five or six, Beck said.
This trip will provide an opportunity for these students to experience a variety of music styles, not just county western, and see professional performances in several venues.
“It will good for them to see if they want to pursue a career like this in real life,” Beck said.
Encore will also get to perform several kinds of music during their performances including some rock and roll at Graceland.
Many of these students have never done anything like this before and have only been in south central and southwest Kansas.
Besides the Encore students, other students from theatre, band or vocal music are also going along. A total of 39 students and sponsors are making the trip and will act as roadies for Encore during their performances.
Encore has been very busy with fundraising projects including the most recent Valentine’s Concert.
Other fund raising projects including a carwash, a hillbilly band, a bake sale, selling candles, selling poinsettias and they will host a dinner theater for the upcoming PCC production of “Aida.”
The Encore members are Brady Walker, Sam Blake, Lyman Wolgamott, Steele Ward, Colter Hawks, Derisheae Williams, Shannon Neifert, Ashtyn Novotny, Hannah Reynolds, Callie Hobkirk, Talia Kruger, Kalei Henning, Brooke Fischer, Carina Temores, Lindsay Neumann, Ashley Stull and Jessica Seifert.
Anyone wanting to help make this trip possible should contact Beck at 770-2345.