Minnesota post provides boost to local show choir’s efforts to participate in national finals
(Post 550 Facebook photo)

Minnesota post provides boost to local show choir’s efforts to participate in national finals

With its performance at the Waconia Star Power Competition in mid-February, the Kennedy High school show choir in Bloomington, Minn., earned an invitation to the FAME Show Choir National Finals April 1 in Branson, Mo. But with that invitation came a stiff price tag: $60,000 to cover the costs of the trip to the finals.

The show choir, Rhythm in Gold, started a fundraiser to be able to make the trip, and so far, it’s raised around $35,000. Of that, $10,000 came from American Legion Post 550, which has made it a mission to assist all aspects of its local high school.

“Our post supports activities at Kennedy High School, not just the sports,” said Department of Minnesota Communications Director Tim Engstrom, a member and past adjutant of Post 550. “I know there’s a large emphasis on sports, and we’re happy to support it. We have a great Legion Baseball team ourselves. But we want to show the community that we’re there to support all the activities the kids do. Our show choir made it to nationals. We’re more than happy to chip in $10,000 for that effort.”

Asking each Rhythm in Gold participant’s family to come up with the money for the trip was out of the question, director Nikki Goulet Jordan told CBS Minnesota. “There is nothing entitled about them, where they come from, why they want to work hard and they want to be good," she said. “To spring on our families, ‘oh we qualified for National, and oh by the way we need a thousand dollars,’ that's just not reality for the kids we serve.”

Engstrom said when Post 550 made the donation, members of the show choir began referencing members of The American Legion they knew from other posts. “And other folks were talking about how great The American Legion had been when they were kids,” he said. “They were talking about their Legion experiences … their positive experiences they’ve had over the years with the Legion. It was great. It’s good to hear that. It keeps you wanting to go forward.”

On its Facebook page, Kennedy Show Choirs thanked Post 550 for its donation, posting, “We’re so grateful for community partners who are supporting our trip to Nationals! The American Legion Post 550 generously donated $10,000 to help cover the costs of this trip and we couldn’t be more excited. Thank you, American Legion!”