In old episodes of "The Little Rascals," Spanky and his gang would decide on a whim to put on a show. In short order, a barn would be filled with spectators and actors in full costume.
Three Signal Mountain Middle/High School students found out that it takes a little more time and effort to put on a real concert.
Mitchell Hall, Alle Hunter and Brock Pressley are all seniors at the school. For their senior project, they chose to plan, book, fund, promote and stage a concert in honor of Katelyn Youngblood, a 2011 Signal Mountain High graduate who is battling cancer.
None of three classmates had ever done anything like their project before, and Hall said getting everything done has been "basically like a job."
The result of their work will be on display tonight at Rhythm & Brews when Craig Morgan performs. Robby Hopkins will open the show at 7 p.m. If all goes as planned, Hall, Hunter and Pressley will be able to hand over about $7,000 in proceeds to the oncology unit at Children's Hospital at Erlanger.
Morgan is a country music singer whose 2005 single "That's What I Love About Sunday" made it to the top of the Billboard country charts.
The money will come from $7,250 in sponsorship money the trio raised earlier this year and from ticket and T-shirt sales. Advance tickets sold out several days ago, though there will be $20 tickets available at the door tonight.
Hall, who guesses each of the three has put in about 100 hours on the concert, said lining up the sponsors was the most difficult part.
"I'm just a kid coming up asking for money for a concert they know nothing about," he said.
Seven people did believe in the students and agreed to be sponsors.
Before any of that work was done, Hall went to Friends of the Festival executive director Chip Baker, who agreed to mentor Hall during the project. A plan was put into place that included differing sponsor levels and a rough budget.
Baker then arranged a meeting for the group with the folks at WUSY-FM 100.7, who agreed to help them find an act.
"The next day we had Craig Morgan," Hall said. "Then we had to find a venue. Then we got T-shirts made, and we had to give the sponsors their T-shirts and tickets and whatever we'd promised as part of their sponsor level."
Once that was accomplished, the trio worked hard to sell tickets and T-shirts.
Hall said he realizes that working with Friends of the Festival opened doors and upped the level of act they were able to get.
"We could not have done this without Chip," Hall said. "We wouldn't know where to start, and without US101 we would not have gotten an act like we did."
Dixie Fuller, talent and production coordinator with Friends of the Festival, said the students have learned quite a bit about putting on an event.
"They worked hard and I think figured out what it takes," he said. "It's not as simple as it looks."
What's the biggest lesson learned from the project?
"It's follow-up," Hall said. "It's following up and staying in contact with people."
Hall said he has been surprised at the amount of time the endeavor has taken, but the payoff will be worth it.
"The fact that we are putting this on and it is our thing and Craig Morgan is coming and we can say we put it together is cool," Hall said. "And the money goes to the children's hospital."
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...