When contemporary singer and songwriter Michael W. Smith takes the stage at E.J. Thomas Hall on March 8, he will be joined by the school choirs at the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy in Cuyahoga Falls.

In addition, the CVCA Royal Ringers handbell choir will perform before the concert in a preshow that starts at 7 p.m. The event is to raise money for the school's fine arts department.

Choir director Jennifer Moore said that she first approached Smith's contacts about doing a concert about a year ago. When she didn't hear back at first, Moore said she had dismissed the idea. Then in November, she got a reply.

"It was one sentence," she said. "'You are confirmed for March 8.'"

The choirs have been rehearsing since then, and are scheduled to perform five songs with Smith, Moore said.

"I'm a big fan [of Smith,]" Moore said. "I'm so excited. I told my students in my 22 years, this is the biggest thing I've done. There will be 160 kids singing with him."

Moore said the March 8 date also holds another significance for the school, although she wasn't aware of it at first: March 8 marks the 45th anniversary of the school.

Tickets are still available, Moore said, adding that "we will have at least a thousand people there."

Tickets are $25 for balcony, $35 for grand tier and $60 for front row. For tickets or information, call the school at 330-929-0575, or visit cvcaroyals.org, or call E.J. Thomas at 330-972-7570, or visit www.ejthomashall.com.

Email: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9438