A group of third and fourth graders from Tennessee were asked to perform at the event when a video cover of Underwood’s song “Champion” caught people’s attention earlier this year.
According to Billboard, Underwood took notice when the Andrew Jackson Elementary School Eagle Honor Choir made a music video of themselves covering the hit, with the help of three-time CMA Foundation Music Teacher of Excellence winner, Franklin Willis. The video earned them the CMA Foundation’s grant to ensure music education for every child and a chance to perform in front of thousands.
In the video below, the kids are ushered into a theater for what they think will be a rehearsal ahead of their big night. However, they don’t know that Underwood is backstage absolutely beaming with excitement to surprise her little fans.
“You could see how much love and thought and hard work was put into this. I heard they were over here rehearsing today, so I just thought I’d drop by and give my love and encouragement,“ she explains. “I know that they’ve been working so hard, I just can’t wait to hear them and see them.”
With that, she steps out from behind the curtain prompting adorably shocked faces from the students in the choir.
"You guys are going to be so amazing," Underwood told them. “That crowd is not going to know what hit them.”
The video concludes with a teaser of how the kids’ showing went at the CMA Fest, which airs on Sunday.
“I was so excited,” one student said after the show. “It makes me feel like I can do anything.”