Mpls. Choir Performs With Legendary Rock Band Foreigner
What do you get when you mix one of the biggest international rock bands of all time with a gospel choir from North Minneapolis?
The answer could be found Friday night at Grand Casino Mille Lacs where Foreigner performed before a sold out crowd--with a little help from 15 members of the Deliverance for Youth Choir from Shiloh Temple International Ministry. For anyone who came of age in the 1970s and '80s, the music of Foreigner is ingrained in their psyche. But for Deliverance for Youth, the band's music was, well, a bit foreign.
That is, until they won a radio contest to perform with the legendary band. "I knew they were a big rock group," said 21-year-old tenor Early Willis. "but I didn't know any of their songs."
The choir members, all of whom are between 18 and 23 years old, weren't even born when Foreigner topped the charts. The band formed in 1976 and has sold nearly 40 million singles and albums in the U.S. alone. Their hits include "Urgent," "Hot Blooded," "Head Games," "Double Vision," "Waiting For A Girl Like You." "Juke Box Hero," and "Feels Like The First Time."
Their biggest hit, though, is "I Want To Know What Love Is" from 1985. It's also Foreigner's only number #1 single. In almost every city on their current tour the band recruits a local choir to assist them with singing the power ballad. Deliverance for Youth filled the bill in Minnesota. They'd been rehearsing all week by themselves, and never had a chance to practice with the band before taking the stage.
"Because we come into each city so late, we don't have time to rehearse with the choirs," said Kelly Hansen, who's sung lead vocals for Foreigner since 20056. "But it always seems to go off without a hitch, knock on wood."
Right before taking the stage, 19-year-old Versha Donaby said, "My heart is speeding as we speak right now. I'm very nervous, but excited."
The performance went off perfectly as the choir enthusiastically sang back-up to Hansen. The crowd of 1700 was on its feet.
Foreigner donated $500 to the choir to help it record an album of its own music. Grand Casino Mille Lacs chipped in another $500. Deliverance for Youth hopes to make the recording at a live performance Saturday August 18th at Shiloh Temple.(For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
When it was all over, Willis said, "I found out what love is!" He paused, smiled sheepishly, and added , "I mean, maybe I will, one day."
Mark Saxenmeyer can be reached at email@example.com