There’s an element of excitement at Pass Road Elementary School that’s palpable. Because on Saturday, the Pass Road Singers will be hitting the stage with the rock band Foreigner to sing “I Want to Know What Love Is” at the Hard Rock Live in Biloxi.
The choir was the winner of the Sun Herald’s “Sing With Foreigner” contest. The school went head to head with the Singing Knights of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Long Beach. The Pass Road Singers won by about 600 votes.
The program is something Foreigner has been doing for years — they try to have a choir perform with them at every show. The kids not only get to sing in front of sold-out crowds, they also get $500 for their music program.
Last year, the Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School Show Choir was selected to sing with the band. It was the farewell performance for the choir’s director, Eric Funches, who had to retire for health reasons. Funches was brought on stage by the band, where he was recognized and presented with a signed guitar by Foreigner lead singer Kelly Hansen.
“Last year in Biloxi was the embodiment of what this program is all about,” Hansen said. “It was a slice of a very gratifying piece of a larger pie — we do it because it’s a way to pay it forward.”
Hansen said the program is important to him.
“I’m a product of public school music programs,” he said. “I get distressed when I hear about cuts in education in general, but especially when the first thing that is cut is usually the arts and my feeling — and maybe I’m biased because I’m in this building — is that music helps to shape a young person’s world and it helps them to see the world in a larger view and helps them to become a more well-rounded person.”
If you would like to see Foreigner and the Pass Road Singers, tickets to Saturday’s show start at $60 and are still available at Ticketmaster.com. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.