A chance to perform with a rock band from the 1980s has sparked a mini-reunion at Barbe High School, whose choir will be on stage with Foreigner tonight at L’Auberge. The choir will sing the chorus of “I Wanna Know What Love Is” during the Foreigner concert, which starts at 8:30 p.m. (Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, June 22, 2012 8:13 PM
A chance to perform with a rock band from the 1980s has sparked a mini-reunion at Barbe High School, whose choir will be on stage with Foreigner tonight at L’Auberge Casino Resort.
The choir will sing the chorus of “I Wanna Know What Love Is” during the Foreigner concert, which starts at 8:30 p.m. Barbe choir director Chris Miller said the band always invites a choir to perform and that Barbe got the gig through a connection.
“Russ Conrad, who works at L’Auberge, was a four-year member of the choir,” Miller said.
“He called me on a Sunday morning and said that Foreigner needed a choir. I asked the date, and when I looked it up I had dates with my band (Chris Miller and Bayou Roots). I asked if they could do it without me, then two or three weeks later a guy called from Los Angeles and told me what we needed to do. Last week I started putting everything together. We gathered a choir of students who are currently in school, just graduated or graduated years ago. We had a rehearsal Tuesday night and are ready to go.”
In addition to some time on stage with a famous rock group, Barbe will get a grant for the choir program.
“They are in partnership with the Grammy Foundation, which is devoted to keeping music and the arts alive in schools,” Miller said. “They get participation from the schools, parents and students to help them raise money for the Grammy Foundation, and in turn they will give a $500 grant.”
The band did not give instructions on the choir’s part of the performance.
“They did not give us an arrangement, just said it was simple and he was sure everybody knew it. But I arranged out what I wanted everybody to do. We are singing the chorus, but I picked out a few things in the recording that the choir does. I do not know if they are going to let us do that. We have a lot of things we could offer them if they let us. We don’t have a rehearsal ahead of time; we are just supposed to get up there and do it. The students can handle that, but I wish the band had a chance to see how good the students are.”
Miller said it will hurt missing the performance, but that he is happy his students get the opportunity.
“The older the student, the more they know of the band and the more excited they seem to be, they have more of a connection to the band. But I think everyone has rediscovered who the band is because of the movie ‘Rock of Ages,’ which has three Foreigner songs. The thing about Foreigner is that everyone knows their music, but not the name of the band.”
Miller said the rehearsals have been like reunions.
“The oldest returnee graduated in 1990,” he said. “We will have about 25 people on stage; about half are current students. A couple of former students said it felt like a family reunion. That’s what is powerful about music in school for a lot of students — it creates a bond, you are part of something bigger than yourself. The power of music is so strong that you can’t break that bond.”
Rachel Looney, a 2011 graduate, is among those making a return.
“This is a great opportunity, it is a good song, there are a lot of harmonies to it, I saw it in the ‘Rock of Ages’ movie and got real excited,” she said. “I watched some videos of other choirs singing with them; I think we will be the best. We all have a great connection and love of music. It is fun being back with the choir; it feels like the first time. It was my favorite part of school. I am a music major at LSU now, so it really influenced my life.”
Rebecca Grosset, will be a junior next year.
“I am looking forward to being on stage. I want to be a musician and can’t wait to feel the energy. It is going to be fun; I love rock music,” Grosset said. “I grew up on this kind of music, watched the movie and was kind of rocking out. It has been fun to see the former students, and seeing their talent level is pretty cool.”
Danielle Heffer said she has family ties to the band.
“My mom freaked out when she heard about it. I think the first concert she and my dad went to was Foreigner, so now I complete the circle,” she said. “When I listened to it before, I always heard the choir in the back. Now I am doing that, and it is pretty cool.”
Lauri Williams, mother of choir member and 2009 graduate Taylor Williams, said her son was thrilled about the performance.
“He grew up on the rock music, there is nothing in my house past the 1970s and 1980s,” she said. “He knew exactly who Foreigner was. The year me and my husband got married, we had the ‘Agent Provocateur’ album and he played it every day when he got home. I must have heard it 1,000 times. They are a phenomenal band.”
Posted By: Sheryl Crador On: 6/25/2012
The Barbe choir did an awesome job!! Whole concert was fantastic!