HUNTERSVILLE – After performing on stages at Hopewell High and Knights Theater, music students at Long Creek Elementary are preparing for their next gig – singing the National Anthem at BB&T Ballpark.

Beth Gommel’s 40 choral students will sing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” just before the Charlotte Knights minor league baseball team plays the Buffalo Bisons on May 10 at the new ballpark.

Gommel holds honors chorus auditions for third, fourth and fifth-graders at the beginning of the year. As many as 150 students try out. Gommel accepts the top 50.

“It’s a fairly popular group at our school,” Gommel said. “They love doing the musical.”

Ninety-nine students from Long Creek Elementary performed in this year's musical, “Cinderella Kids,” March 20 and 21 at Hopewell High School.

Logan Flournoy played the role of Cinderella. Other key actors include Abby Westmoreland as Drizella, Emily Stancil as Anastasia and Kennedy Fant as step-mother. Others were cast as larger groups like ballroom dancers and mice.

Fifteen former Long Creek students – now in middle school – returned to help with sound, spotlights and props. 

Jessica Alston served as assistant director. Donald Buzzee handled the sets.

“Our teachers are amazing and help as much as 10 hours alone the week of the show between the two shows and dress rehearsals,” Gommel said.

Gommel’s students also participated in the Blumenthal Performing Arts’ Broadway Junior Theater Celebration April 7-9 on the Knight Theater in Charlotte. Students got to perform for and receive feedback from theater professionals.

Next year, the group will perform “Annie Kids.” Gommel said the two performances of “Cinderella Kids” were so well attended that the school is considering adding a third performance next year.

“Cinderella Kids” marked the fifth musical Gommel has directed since joining Long Creek seven years ago. She said the best part of teaching music is watching children mature.

“I get to see how they started out when they are so little and by the time they are in fifth grade, they are able to do these shows,” Gommel said. “It’s pretty incredible to be part of that.”