Anne Martinez told her University High School students that they were going to audition to sing with Foreigner. “Yes!” said Derek Downing. “Huh?” said most of the rest of them.
Martinez, 23, may not have known Foreigner, either. Foreigner was a staple of the late 1970s and mid-80s, and Martinez, um, wasn’t alive then. But she loves classic rock and remembered Foreigner because they opened for Journey at a concert she attended.
Downing plays guitar and likes classic rock.
The rest of the 15 who made a 30-second video? Well, Martinez had to explain to them that “Jukebox Hero,” the song they would sing on tape, wasn’t just a song on “Glee.” It was, in fact, one of the band’s biggest hits.
The audition paid off. Martinez’s choir students, 25 of them, will sing tonight with Foreigner during the band’s performance at the Union Colony Civic Center.
They’ll sing the chorus to “I Want To Know What Love Is.” That’s the one with the gospel choir singing along. You’ve probably heard it. If you haven’t, turn on a classic rock station and wait an hour.
For the audition video, they only had to practice it a few times — again, it was only 30 seconds — and she told her students to dress in ‘80s clothes. “For them, that meant wearing lots of bright colors,” Martinez said. “It wasn’t extremely authentic ‘80s.”
The choir practiced Friday after school. They’ll perform the song cold with the band. But it should be fine. The band’s hosted more than 300 local high school choirs on its tours to sing the song.
Foreigner will donate $500 to University’s choir for performing.
“Music education is a cause that is very near and dear to our hearts,” said Tom Gimbel, who plays saxophone, keyboards and guitar in the band, in a press release.
As for Downing, he’s looking forward to it. He prefers ‘80s rock and doesn’t like a lot of the new music.
“The reason I play guitar is because of that music,” Downing said. “It’s more actual music. There’s instruments and talent.”