West Harrison High School choir director Curtis Staples said that he’s “always loved rock music.”
On Friday, Staples will put his rock skills to work as he takes his choir to hit the stage in Studio A of the IP Casino Resort when they sing “I Want to Know What Love Is” with the classic rock band Foreigner. It’s a big task for the six or seven kids who have been in the choir less than a year.
The choir was the winner of the annual “Sun Herald Sing With Foreigner Contest.”
“Normally, we hold a video contest through SunHerald.com,” said Sun Herald Digital Editor Kate Magandy. “But this year, we did things differently and hand-picked the West Harrison High School Choir — a first-year program with less than 10 members but a huge heart is embodiment of the ‘Sing With Foreigner’ contest, which is conducted in cities around the country.”
The program is something Foreigner has been doing for years — they try to have a choir perform with them at every show. The students not only get to sing in front of sold-out crowds, they also get $500 for their music program.
“It’s a great deal — we’re performing with one of the greatest rock bands in the world,” Staples said. “We’ve only been together three months and I can’t think of a choir more deserving — it’s dream come true because I’ve always been a rocker at heart.”
“I Want to Know What Love Is” was released in 1984. The “Agent Provocateur” single went to number one on both the U.S. and U.K. charts. And although it was a hit decades before the members of the West Harrison Choir were born, it doesn’t mean they aren’t familiar with Foreigner’s biggest hit.
“I’ve grown up listening rock music because my dad is a big fan,” said Megan Hentges of Pass Christian. “I’m so excited about this — my dad is kind of jealous that we are getting to do this.”
And if Megan could choose any song to sing with the band, which one would she choose.’
“I love ‘Cold as Ice,’ that’s my favorite Foreigner song,” she said.
And the band is just as excited to sing with the West Harrison High School Choir.
“It’s a different experience every time we sing with a choir,” Foreigner guitarist Bruce Watson said. “You see the looks on their faces when they walk on stage and every choir reacts differently — it’s never the same experience and it never gets old to sing with with these school choirs.”