Watch Carrie Underwood Surprise Students Rehearsing ‘The Champion’

This is a choir rehersal they'll never forget.

Written by Chris Parton
Watch Carrie Underwood Surprise Students Rehearsing ‘The Champion’
Andrew Jackson Elementary Choir performs at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, June 9 during the 2019 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville. Photo courtesy of CMA Fest

Fans at the 2019 CMA Music Fest saw a student choir crush a heartwarming version of Carrie Underwood’s “The Champion” at Nissan Stadium. But they didn’t see what happened before the show.

While the the Andrew Jackson Elementary School Eagle Honor Choir was busy rehearsing for their big moment, Underwood snuck onto the set to check out how they were doing — and basically blew their minds.

In a video shot by the Country Music Association, music teacher Franklin Willis puts the choir through its paces while Underwood waits excitedly in the wings. “I just love listening to them,” she says, while the kids run through their song. And when she finally walked out to help encourage their big moment, smiles of shock and surprise were all around.

The whole thing started when the choir released a music video for “The Champion” in May, catching Underwood’s attention. Then the Country Music Association — which puts on the CMA Music Festival — decided it would be a great opportunity to showcase what the festival does for kids all around the country every year. Since the artists all play CMA Fest for free, millions of dollars raised by ticket sales gets donated to school music programs around the nation — programs just like the one at Andrew Jackson Elementary.

“It was like, the best feeling ever,” says one of the kids about their stadium-stage performance. “It makes me feel like I can do anything.”

Check out Underwood’s Nissan Stadium performance, along with appearances by Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett, Luke Bryan and more when CMA Fest: The Music Event of Summer airs August 4 at 8/7c on ABC.