(Reggie Beehner)

By Jessica Spencer

This February, 19 students from Eastern will be traveling to Nashville, Tenn. to take part in the filming of a music video by Dolly Parton. For several years, St. Marks Catholic Church in Richmond has hosted a fundraiser titled An Evening Among Friends. In the past, entertainers such as Bill Cosby and Natalie Cole have been the guests of honor at the event. In October, as an encore of An Evening Among Friends, Dolly Parton will be lighting up the stage for the benefit concert.

Father Jim Sichko, the priest at St. Marks, was once an opera singer before becoming a priest.

“He has a lot of connections,” said Jenny Pulliam, a senior nursing major at Eastern. “Father Jim visited with Ms. Parton to work out the details for the October benefit concert. She mentioned that she needed college students for her upcoming music video.”

Amanda House, a freshman criminal justice major from Wilder, said Sichko told Parton he knew where she could get plenty of students. She said to send about 20 students and they would be her VIP’s.

An e-mail was sent to all students who regularly attend the Newman Center on Eastern’s campus, but only the first 19 students to reply to the e-mail were eligible to make the trip.

“I was the last one to respond,” House said. “I was so excited. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It feels . like someone is just pulling a prank on me.”

The taping of the video was originally scheduled for Jan 19, which was Dolly’s 62nd birthday. But plans were changed and the recording has been pushed back into February, though the actual date is still being decided.

“I am thrilled to be in this video,” freshman Diane Adams said. The 18-year-old special education major said Parton was her favorite singer growing up.

“It’s a great opportunity and I am blessed to have come across it,” she said.

The new video is scheduled to release Sept. 4, 2008.

“I hope everyone will watch for the new video on CMT,” Adams said.