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St. Genevieve High School students to perform for former President Jimmy Carter

The dance teams and choir from the Panorama City campus will provide entertainment for his 85th birthday party at a theater in Georgia.

September 27, 2009|Carla Rivera

The dance teams and choir at St. Genevieve High School in Panorama City count plenty of boosters on their home turf and one very important supporter 3,000 miles away -- former President Jimmy Carter, who chose the students as one of two scheduled acts to perform today at his 85th birthday party.

Carter and St. Genevieve first kindled a relationship four years ago after Principal Daniel Horn and several students addressed a conference on character education in Atlanta and decided to travel to Plains, Ga., to hear the former president speak.

In 2006, a group of teachers and students filmed a documentary about Carter and his presidency, and last spring, the school performed a production of "Singin' in the Rain" at the Plains High School auditorium that was attended by the former president and his wife.

In a video, Carter described St. Genevieve as "one of the finest schools in America [with] the best choir I've ever heard."

So it wasn't a complete shock when the school got a call several months ago requesting the presence of the St. Genevieve Valiant Voices Choir and the Valiant boys and girls dance teams for the performance, which takes place at the Rylander Theatre in Americus, Ga. The other act on the bill is pianist David Osborne.

Students are extremely honored, Horn said. They will perform for 45 minutes and have prepared a selection of music that highlights important years in Carter's life: He was born in 1924, so they will perform "It Had to Be You," a song released that year. There will be a 1970s medley to denote his election in 1976 and also favorite tunes, such as "Wind Beneath My Wings" and John Lennon's "Imagine."

Students Jordan Parks and Rosalind Smith, both 14-year-old freshmen who will perform a duet on "Rainy Night in Georgia," expressed a mixture of excitement and nervousness.

"I'm looking forward to this being something memorable to be able to share with my family and to just be fun," Jordan said.


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