When Foreigner launches into its hit song “I Want to Know What Love Is,” thousands of adoring fans belt out the words, hanging on every wailing guitar lick and soaring vocal note.
This summer, members of the Greenwood Community High School choir will live out that rock ‘n’ roll dream side-by-side with the band.
Greenwood has been chosen to join the classic rock mainstay for the band’s Aug. 13 concert at Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville. Students will help sing the melody during “I Want to Know What Love Is,” adding depth and power to the rock ballad.
Not only will the choir have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bask in the spotlight, Foreigner will also donate $500 to the school for their appearance.
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“It’s one of their most popular songs, it’ll be near the end of the concert, so it will be pretty neat,” said Daniel Borns, choir director at Greenwood. “We haven’t had a chance to talk much about it since school hasn’t started, but I think they’ll be pretty excited. I know I would have been at their age to be up on stage at Klipsch looking out at all those people.”
Foreigner has spent the summer touring the U.S. with Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience in celebration of its 40th anniversary as a band. Their latest album, “40 — Forty Hits from Forty Years,” was released in late May and serves as a retrospective of their lengthy career.
As they have for the past few years, the band has been partnering with high school choirs at select tour stops. Schools are invited to send in a video clip, and the best one in each city where the band will perform is chosen to sing.
“We are thrilled to have the Greenwood High School choir join us in Noblesville on Aug. 13,” said Foreigner founder and guitarist Mick Jones in an emailed statement. “As far as I’m concerned, music is not only the most powerful form of communication between the peoples of the world, it provides a gateway that opens up a fantastic new dimension of feeling and creativity. Anything we can do to provide our young ones with the tools to express themselves through music, is our goal in this partnership.”
The contest is part of the band’s partnership with the Grammy Foundation, its chosen charity aimed at supporting music education for students. The goal of both the band and the foundation is keeping music education part of the core curriculum in high schools throughout North America.
In addition to performing, the Greenwood choir will sell Foreigner CDs before the concert to raise money for the Grammy Foundation.
Greenwood entered the choir contest in the spring, after student Megan McElyea learned about it and asked Borns if she could send a submission.
“She sent a video of us singing in a contest from the spring, and they liked it,” Borns said. “It was a quick turnaround; she turned it in on a Saturday, and by Monday they were contacting us wanting us to do it.”
Details about the performance will unfold over the next few weeks. Borns does know that leading up to “I Want to Know What Love Is,” the choir will be ushered backstage and directed where to stand and when to start.
The stage setup and amount of time the students have to be out for the song limits the number of choir members who can participate. Because only 25 students can take part, Borns chose his smaller jazz choir to take part.
“Our big choir is 80 kids, and there wouldn’t be enough time to get on and off stage with 80 kids,” he said.
Because the choir’s part will be relatively simple, the students won’t start preparing until classes start for the year on July 31.
“Once we get back to school next week, we’ll be working on it. Since it’s only a unison melody, and we don’t have to sing multiple parts, it shouldn’t be that hard to learn,” Borns said.
“Their manager was joking, ‘You better know every song in their catalog.'”
Foreigner with Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience
What: The classic rock lineup gets an added boost of local flair when the Greenwood Community High School choir performs with Foreigner on “I Want to Know What Love Is.”
When: 7 p.m. Aug. 13
Where: Klipsch Music Center, 12880 E. 146th St., Noblesville
Tickets: Start at $21.50