The King’s Academy is sending 80 students to perform at the Jan. 20 inauguration , including a choir of 69 singers and 11 dancers. The group was one of 12 total chosen to perform, many of which were collegiate or professional acts.
Students at the Christian school in suburban West Palm Beach have performed for Trump and his wife Melania several times over the past two decades, Artistic Director David Snyder said.
But being chosen for this show is a testament to the hard work put in by the teenagers, who practice for more than three hours each day during and after school.
He said this is one of the most talented groups he has had in his nearly 20 years at the school.
“This event is life-changing for them and for their families,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing.”
They’ll be performing a medley of American classics with a nod to the troops and closing with “Peace on Earth.”
The students perform dozens of shows every year, but this one is going to be special.
Graham Popadic, a 16-year-old junior, can already visualize it. He’s picturing a huge crowd and a great performance.
“We’ve done a lot of shows over the years, but I think this will be at the top of the list,” he said. “It’s going to be crazy.”
It will be a quick turnaround for senior Summer McCarty, who wants to pursue musical theater as a career. After the performance, McCarty plans to fly to New York for an audition Point Park University, a liberal arts school based in Pittsburgh.
For McCarty, performing at an inauguration isn’t just another show.
“It’s just going to be really an honor more than anything,” she said.
The choir also has an international flavor with students from Brazil, Germany and China among the group traveling to the nation’s capital.
Luis Henrique do Nascimento Pollon became interested in music from his father, who played in a band in Brazil. He started with learning guitar and “singing in the shower” before eventually deciding to pursue college in Portugal.
After some thinking and speaking with an advisor, he decided to come to Florida instead for a year of high school before hopefully attending an American college.
The jump from the shower to the inauguration may seem like a big leap, but he feels ready thanks to work with his peers.
“Everybody is so talented,” he said. “That kind of makes me feel really good about it because I can learn a lot from them.”
One challenge for the many native Floridians might be the cold weather of the northeast. Junior Dorie Saillant said she’s never experienced weather colder than about 40 degrees.
Snyder said the group will have matching gloves, scarves and coats to keep the students warm.
Headmaster Doug Raines, a 15-year history teacher, will be attending his first inauguration and he expects to think back to the forefathers like George Washington. He’s excited for the King’s Academy students to get a taste of that history.
“I think our students will come away saying ‘that was a lot of fun,’ ” he said.