Kenny Rogers has over five decades of experience performing country music, and on Saturday April 21, he will accompany the University of Mary Washington Philharmonic Orchestra at the William M. Anderson, Jr. Celebrity Series.
According to Bartram, Rogers has the widest artist appeal of all the celebrities the philharmonic has accompanied.
“Kenny Rogers is more of a cross-over artist to many generations and styles than any audience we’ve had,” Bartram said.
Along with six months of steady work, the orchestra has only one rehearsal with Rogers before the concert.
“It’s only nerve wracking if not prepared for it,” Bartram said. “We’ve been rehearsing these quality numbers for many weeks now. The audience will love them.”
Will Spaulding, a senior political science major, plays upright base for the philharmonic orchestra.
“It’s going to be pretty exhilarating but also an insightful experience in terms of what it’s like to work with a professional musician,” Spaulding said.
Bartram established the orchestra celebrity series that has featured Academy Award winning composers in order to bring attention to the orchestra.
“We wanted to raise the bar as it were for the philharmonic as well as the city of Fredericksburg,” Bartram said.
This will be the first major concert in the Anderson Center, as well as Roger’s first college show.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to bring people on to campus and to see the new arena,” Bartram said.
Rogers has sold over 120 million records worldwide. For this Saturday, tickets were sold to a wide array of people, from UMW students, to fans from as far as New Mexico, according to Bartram.
“Even for Kenny Rogers himself, it’s a wonderful opportunity to perform with a full orchestra,” Bartram said. “It’s a real treat for an audience and an artist… It’s nice to have us on his tour stop.”