(September 17, 2009)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073.

Small Band Opens For Big-Time Country Star

SHREVEPORT, La.— A local band with strong ties to Centenary College will be the opening act for legendary country singer Jo Dee Messina, Sunday, Sept. 20 at the Hirsch Coliseum in Shreveport as part of the U.S. Support/KRMD country concert.

Chasing Canaan, an eight-member group that includes six members attending the College or that are recent graduates, will take the stage at 3 p.m. and play in front of an estimated crowd of 11,000 at the free concert.

"This is a huge concert for us to be able to open for such a famous country singer and to play in front of a large audience," said band member Michael Rafferty.

The members of Chasing Canaan include Michael Rafferty '10 (acoustic guitar and vocals), Sarah Duet '11 (electric bass and acoustic guitar), Kaci Kimball '10 (vocals), Missy Wise '09 (vocals and piano), Britney Winn '09 (vocals), Carrie Mercer '09 (vocals), Mike Krusleski (electric guitar), and Jamie Halphen (drums).

The band began collaborating during the spring semester of 2007. Two of the members were planning a mission trip to Kenya for the summer, so they asked six friends to lead worship with them in an effort to raise money to travel to East Africa. The group played together only a few times before realizing their potential. Today, according to their website, members of the group are living in Shreveport, posing as students and employees while writing, performing and dreaming together about what the Lord has in store for them next.

Along with performing with a nationally-known country star, more of their dreams are being realized. The group recently signed a recording contract with Echo Dei Records, an independent label out of Texas and will be recording tracks for their first full-length album this fall

The concert is presented by local radio station KRMD. Free tickets are available while they last at locations around the area. For a complete list of locations, visit http://www.krmd.com/KRMDFreeCountryConcert/tabid/298/Default.aspx

About Centenary College of Louisiana
Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 371 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.