TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – The fourth grade choir from Holy Spirit Catholic School got the rockstar opportunity of a lifetime, Thursday night. They shared the stage with one of classic rock’s all-time greatest legends: Foreigner. The ten-time multi-platinum band has had 16 top 30 hits, including their most famous ballad, “I Want to Know What Love Is.” It was that song when the students joined the band, acting as the gospel choir that is heard on the original record.
The elementary schoolers transitioned to “Jukebox Heros” by winning a local radio station contest. Choir teacher, Annie McClendon submitted a video of her students singing the song’s chorus. Then, they waited for news.
“They all gathered in the classroom together,” McClendon remembers, “and they were listening so intently. They just lost it. The screamed and some were doing jumping jacks, others were crying, and it was just wonderful.”
The student singers say they practiced two times a week leading up to the big performance. Foreigner was coming to the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater in May as part of the Soundtrack of Summer Tour with Don Felder and Styx.
“I’m really trying to soak all this up and I’m super excited,” student, Hayden Pilkinton, says backstage. “I’m also kind of nervous because this is going to be my first time on stage in front of a couple thousand people.”
Maybe it won’t be the last time, either. WIAT 42 News spoke with Foreigner bassist, Jeff Pilson before the show. “You know sometimes, you see a little spark,” Pilson explains, “and you think, oh maybe that person is thinking about, wow, I could do this! I would really like to to do this for a living, and that is so cool.”
Pilson says Foreigner, as a group, is very supportive of music education. It’s a big part of the reason they invited the Holy Spirit Singers on stage. “You know, with a lot of budget problems that are happening these days, a lot of the first things to go are the music departments. So we’re out there to help and do our part for school music education.”
Along with their stage time, the Holy Spirit Singers also received a $500 grant from the band that will go back into their program. McClendon says it will be used to purchase classroom instruments.
Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News