American Eagle Foundation benefit show at Smoky Mountain Opry

ZZ AEF Benefit Concert

Clark Beckham and Challenger the eagle/photo submitted

By Wes Ramey

The Smoky Mountain Opry Theater in Pigeon Forge is getting ready for a big fundraising event benefiting the non-profit American Eagle Foundation (AEF), which will showcase an extravaganza of entertainment.

On Sunday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m., Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry will host a special benefit show featuring renowned American Idol season 14 runner-up Clark Beckham, singer/songwriter James Rogers and Challenger, the famous non-releasable free-flying Bald Eagle that lives at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge.

“I’m very excited to help out with this great event. I love Christmas music; I love Pigeon Forge and I love the American Eagle Foundation. I’m ready to give it all I’ve got come December,” said Beckham.

The benefit show celebrates the American Eagle Foundation’s 30th anniversary and will raise money to help care for and protect America’s bald eagles.

Beckham is a native of White House, Tenn. and a graduate of Lee University. He was involved in the Campus Choir there and led the group as a student director and tenor section leader. He went on to be the runner-up of season 14 of American Idol.

Rogers, who lives in Chattanooga, worked as an entertainer at Dollywood for 25 years and is a former board member of the AEF. He is known nationwide for his eagle-themed songs, “Fly Eagle Fly,” “Save the Eagle” and “When Challenger Flies.”

Proceeds from the benefit show and event will support the eagle/raptor education, care and recovery work of the American Eagle Foundation. Dollywood is home to the American Eagle Foundation and its Eagle Mountain Sanctuary Aviary Exhibit and Wings of America Birds of Prey Show.

Tickets are available at $50 and $75 (plus tax). The VIP $125 (plus tax) ticket package offers premium front-center seating, an after-the-show Taste of the Smokies food reception, and a performer meet-and-greet and photo with Clark Beckham, the eagle Challenger and James Rogers. In addition, Clark will sing two additional songs at the VIP reception. VIP ticket packages are limited and are expected to sell quickly.

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