This year will mark the first time, however, for two performances for the students — one on Monday, and one Tuesday. It means 1,800 third-graders will be able to attend the performance free of charge, the first time in the 27-year history of the event that no county schools will be shut out.
"So many of them would never have the chance to see this kind of event," said Bill Webb, chairman of the Knox Concert Series. "It's really great to be able to offer this for them."
Local donations go a long way toward helping to offset the costs of the performances, which are held in the Performing Arts Center at Anniston High School. This year, however, the series got some additional help from someone a little farther away.
Couch's Jewelers is one of the biggest local supporters of the Knox Concert Series, and Saturday the 10th Street store hosted renowned jeweler Nina Nguyen from Boulder, Colo., to show off and sell necklaces and earrings from her collection, as well as auction off one of her pieces, with all the proceeds going to pay for the students to see “The Nutcracker.”
"I like to help out local nonprofits that support the arts and creativity," said the Vietnamese-born Nguyen. "When I heard about the Nutcracker series it felt like it was a great fit."
Couch's owner, Bill Couch, said he invited Nguyen to the store because of her unique collection, which uses natural cut gemstones that she designs her jewelry around. Her collection has been featured in magazines like Shape, Redbook, and Us Weekly.
Couch said Saturday he hoped the event would raise thousands of dollars for performances Monday and Tuesday.
"It's something great for the kids," Couch said. "Just for them to see that kind of performance at such a young age."
Jim Nolen, a 25-year board member for the Knox Concert Series, and former chairman, said the event is one of the most important events the Series puts on every year.
"To see them come off the bus so excited, and then to watch them experience it is really something else," Nolen said. "It's very special."
Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.