Matt Arthur Elementary chorus to sing at Braves game

awoolen@macon.comMarch 13, 2013 

KATHLEEN -- The Atlanta Braves first home weekend game series will have some local participation on the field -- not playing baseball but singing the national anthem.

The Matt Arthur Elementary School chorus was selected to sing prior to the April 5 game against the Chicago Cubs.

Music education teacher Rick Gonzalez sent in an application to sing in the fall and received word about the acceptance a few weeks ago.

Gonzalez said he is worried about how his students will react to what he estimated would be a 40,000-plus sized crowd.

“Walking down on that field ... they have no idea,” Gonzalez said.

To prepare them for what it might feel like, the group of 55 third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students have performed at Mercer University basketball games.

Fourth-grader Austin Caldwell said when the lights went down and the spotlight shone just on them, his eyes bugged out.

“On a scale from one to 10, it would be at an 11,” Madison White said of her nervousness about performing.

Gracie Webb, a fifth-grader, is more concerned with everyone staring at her.

But Alexia Caldwell said she isn’t really scared.

“I like the attention,” the fourth-grader said.

Gonzalez said he can tell when his students are scared because the song goes faster and faster.

It might help keep the children under the time limit, since the Braves only allow 90-seconds for the song.

For some of the fifth-graders, this will be the last opportunity they have to perform in chorus since some Houston County middle and high schools do not have a choir.

Performing at the Braves game “was something I wanted to have happen,” Gonzalez said.

“This is all about the kids.”

To be considered to sing again in the future, the school has to sell 250 tickets. The tickets range in price from $8 to $92, and the deadline to buy from the school is Friday. For ticket information, e-mail Dawn Hawk at

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