On Friday, December 10 The Glens Falls Civic Center and WGNA welcomed an American music legend, Kenny Rogers.

A modest crowd cheered loudly as I announced on stage that “The Gambler” was in the house, but when I referred to the local high school choir that was appearing with Kenny that night, the crowd got even louder!   You could tell that every child’s parent was in the audience waiting to see their pride and joy sing on a stage with a legend.  When you consider that it’s not often a national act recruits local talent for a tour, this was such a rare and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for so many people. 

Limping out on to the stage, it was obvious that the charismatic, charming, and entertaining man I had seen so many times before was starting to feel his age.  At 72, it’s amazing he still tours on a regular basis.   Especially when you realize that his holiday show plays just about every night of the week from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  That kind of schedule would make anyone a little exhausted.  As a fan of Classic Country music, I am thankful that legends like Kenny Rogers still tour!  The opportunity to see a legend gives fans another chance to enjoy the music and memories that bring us all back to a great time in our own lives, even if the voice that delivers them is a bit weathered.  Hit after hit, this was the soundtrack to every person’s life that listened to Country Music in the late 70s and 80s.  Everyone clapped, reminisced, and sang along to monster hits like “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town,” “The Gambler,” “Through The Years,” “Lucille,” “Lady,” “Buy Me A Rose,” “Islands In The Stream,” “Daytime Friends,” “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” and “Coward Of The County.”  Any artist would dream of a hit catalog a quarter of the size of this man’s amazing list of hit songs from the last 50 years!

After about an hour of the hits, Kenny lit up the stage with Christmas trees, snow, and twinkling lights.  Billy Dean introduced us to four elementary school children from Waterford-Halfmoon High School.  Then, Kenny gave us a few holiday standards leading up to the moment that most all of the audience was looking forward to, the Waterford-Halfmoon High School Choir!  Thirty smiling faces and glorious voices seem to transform all of us to the quintessential American holiday celebration, making the festive backdrop complete.  As Kenny stated later in the show, “It’s not Christmas until the choir sings!” 

What many people didn’t know is that these kids had practiced just about every day for a month with their choir director, Mr. Eric Nelsen.  Their music teacher admits that many of the kids weren’t familiar with Kenny Rogers, but after learning that he had sold 125 million records and racked up 24 number one hits, they realized that they were performing with a man who was the “Rascal Flatts or Tim McGraw” of their parents and grandparents generation.  Of course, the excitement of performing in a professional stage show in front of a large crowd was also something to look forward to!  The kids performance was just incredible, considering they only had one on-stage rehearsal just a couple of hours before the actual show.  They made us all proud!

At 72, Kenny may have moved a little slower and sang a little less than most of his previous shows, but I have to say that Kenny did his job of making us all feel a little sentimental, laugh, and sing along.  When I left the arena I could tell that the Christmas spirit had been turned on in all of us, from the proud parents of the kids, to the smiles of accomplishment on the choir members’ faces, to the look of happiness in my Grandmother’s eyes.  What a great way to start the holiday season!