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Step It Up Cloggers perform at Grand Ole Opry
Several local young ladies made their way to Nashville on Wednesday to experience the once-in-a lifetime chance to perform on the Grand Ole Opry stage, with Chapel Hart, and they will perform with the group at the Killebrew Rodeo in Jackson this weekend.
Six members from Step It Up cloggers recently entered a contest on the social media app TikTok which was hosted by Mississippi country musicsensation Chapel Hart – and they won.
Step It Up instructor Adrienne Hartley said the group wasn’t expecting much from the competition, but with the chance to win $1,000, they wanted to give it a shot because they knew they could put the money toward uniforms and competitions if they won. The six cloggers who entered the contest are Alli Grace Rigney, Aly Edwards, Kendall Freeman, Bradley Mayo, Keeli McDonald and Kaylee Anderson. They have been with Step It Up the longest, Hartley said.
“We didn’t know it was going to happen like this,” Hartley said. “We knew we could win $1,000, then all this (more performances) came about.”
“The girls won the TikTok challenge and went to Chapel Hart’s concert in Gulfport Saturday night to be presented their prize. Their (Chapel Hart) manager wanted the girls to clog to Fist City, and then he wanted them to perform to two songs.”
The concert with Chapel Hart – a trio of singers from Poplarville made up of sisters Danica and Devynn Hart and their cousin Trea Swindle – was a treat for the young dancers. They performed on-stage as Chapel Hart performed their hit songs “Fist City” and “You Can Have Him, Jolene.” They also had front row seats for the rest of the concert and had backstage passes for after the show.
Jean McDonald, grandmother of clogger Keeli McDonald, said she was talented trio and the way they made the young women feel welcome and feel like they were part of the family. And while the girls had a great time at the concert, that fun was just the beginning.
“To say they were treated like ‘STARS’ is an understatement,” McDonald said.
“The manager said the group would be in Jackson on July 28 and asked if we wanted to come,” Hartley said. “Then he said he wanted to see them on the Grand Ole Opry Stage.”
Hartley and her group knew it would be an amazing experience for the girls to perform in Nashville, but they didn’t get their hopes up for that. They were thrilled for what they had already gotten to experience.
“He (manager) called Saturday night and said he had good news and he had bad news,” Hartley said.
The good news Hartley received was that the girls were being invited to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. The bad news was, the opportunity to do so was just four days away and it wasn’t even clear at the time if all the youngsters would be available.
“Adrienne called the group of parents, and we made it happen,” McDonald said.
The group of six and their families left Wednesday morning and were to perform on the Grand Ole Opry stage with Chapel Hart on Wednesday night, stay the night in Nashville, and then make their way home on Thursday to get ready for performing again with the music trio at the Killebrew Rodeo at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson on Friday.
“The (six) girls will perform to “Fist City” at the Grand Ole Opry,” Hartley said.
“All the team is going to the rodeo. He (manager) invited the whole team.”
The excitement amongst the group is high, Hartley said, as the girls and their families are ecstatic for the opportunities and the great memories they will make along the way.
“Some of them (girls) are still like I am and still in shock,” Hartley said. “We still can’t believe it. I never thought we’d be on the Grand Ole Opry stage. We are excited.”