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O'Connell choir sings background vocals for headliner Eric Church

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Young musicians dream of singing to thousands of cheering fans, but few get to experience that rush. Fortunately, singers from Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington had the chance to drink in the limelight while sharing the stage with country singer Eric Church at a packed Verizon Center concert May 19.


A few weeks prior, choral director Peter Kadeli received an email from the tour manager explaining that Church invites a local choir to sing with him at every concert on this tour. Church is perhaps best known for his soulful coming-of-age ballad, “Springsteen.”


“I looked at the email and said, ‘This would be a great gig,’ ” said Kadeli. After two short rehearsals, the O’Connell Singers, a select women’s chamber choir, was ready to go.


Rosie Coolidge, a junior and huge Church fan, had hoped to attend the concert, but was stymied by the cost. She was ecstatic when she learned they would be singing backup vocals for the opening song of the concert.


The afternoon of the show, the singers were picked up from O’Connell, driven to the Verizon Center and given a backstage tour. They donned shiny white choir robes and learned some simple choreography. Halfway through the performance of “Mistress named Music,” they walked onto the stage and began to sing.


“I was expecting to be very nervous but I couldn’t stop smiling,” said Coolidge. “It was a surreal experience.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017