When the Madrigal Singers from A.C. Reynolds High walked out, the crowd was already erupting- with lights blazing, guitars gleaming, and music blaring. It was a performance finale for Foreigner- the iconic British-American rock band that formed in 1976- and everyone was waiting to shout the lyrics of “I Want to Know What Love Is.” It was a chance of a lifetime for the Reynolds students, and they were center stage.
One student said the whole experience was “an adrenaline rush.” “This all happened so fast,” exclaimed another.
The Rockets earned their place in Foreigner’s February 22nd Asheville show through an audition contest hosted by the828.com- a project of Saga Communications. Schools shared audition videos with the band and community members voted on the finalists.
The choral director behind the success of these students is Mr. Phillip Haynie, who helped them learn the music and prepare for their big day. Unfortunately, Mr. Haynie caught the flu and had to stay home the day of the concert, relying on texts, photos, and speaker-phone calls throughout the evening to be part of the action. In his stead, Principal Doris Sellers accompanied the students to the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, and to the band’s back-stage area. One female student even had the chance to play guitar with Foreigner’s lead vocalist- an experience she won’t soon forget!
“They sang and danced with enthusiasm and represented our school with Rocket Pride,” beamed Sellers. “Most of our teachers and parents grew up with music from Foreigner and it was fun to see this generation be excited about a band their parents grew up listening to. Parents and even grandparents were in attendance not only to see their children, but to enjoy the music they love. Music is a language that brings people and generations together.”
The singers helped the band sell CDs to benefit the Grammy Foundation, which provides musical arts opportunities for underprivileged schools. Foreigner also made a $500 donation to the Reynolds choral program.
“All across Western North Carolina we have quality Arts programs and I love seeing them recognized,” Sellers continued. “I must say it was very special to have our singers selected for this opportunity. We thank our Reynolds community for voting and to Foreigner for allowing students to experience performance in this manner.”
(Photos courtesy of the828.com)