Uniondale High School will host benefit concerts Thursday night and Saturday night to help raise money for its show choir's travel and appearance at a national competition in Chicago this month.

The 45-student show choir, named Rhythm of the Knight, is slated to compete against about two dozen other ensembles from schools across the country at the FAME Show Choir National Finals, being held at the Arie Crown Theater on April 24-27.

The group's goal is to raise $30,000, school officials said. Ticket sales and donations had brought in $8,000 as of Wednesday.

This is the second consecutive year that the show choir has reached the national contest. Last year, the group placed ninth.

"This year, we're looking to take home one of the big trophies," said Lynnette Carr-Hicks, the choir's director. "The show choir is blessed with a group of very talented and hardworking students who have sacrificed a lot to be able to accomplish such a tremendous milestone, and they deserve the opportunity to show the entire nation just how good they are."

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The show choir's performance consists of a combination of song and dance routines based around the 1988 movie "Coming to America" -- a fitting theme, Carr-Hicks said, as two of the leading roles are held by students who moved to the country in the past few years. Those students, Kenyo Baly and Anick Theodore, came from St. Martin in the British Virgin Islands and Haiti, respectively.

To reach the national level, the show choir placed third last month in a regional competition at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Manhattan.

"The school district has a lot of faith in this group of talented performers, and their dedication to performing arts makes them exceptional role models for the entire Uniondale community," district Superintendent William Lloyd said.

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The performances, both at 7 p.m., will be held in the auditorium of the high school, 933 Goodrich St. in Uniondale. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.