Kids music

Strangers Show Features Little Rock Church Choir and Donation to Children’s Music Ministry

Foreigner brings his massive catalog of hits to Simmons Bank Arena on Sunday, and veteran rockers bring in local talent to open the show.

Little Rock’s Second Presbyterian Church Chamber Choir will perform a 15-minute set of a capella versions of rock ‘n’ roll classics before Foreigner takes the stage.

“I never thought about it,” said Bevan Keating, director of music and arts and choir director of the Second Presbyterian, when approached by representatives of Foreigner. “But Foreigner is right in my wheelhouse.”

And in addition to providing an opening slot on the show, the veteran group is donating $ 500 to the church’s children’s music ministry.

Foreigner was formed in 1976 by British guitarist Mick Jones, fellow British fellow Ian McDonald and American singer Lou Gramm and specialized in thunderous, hook-filled arena firecrackers. Along with Boston, Journey, Styx and other bands from the same period, Foreigner would become a mainstay of rock FM radio for decades to come.

The Jukebox Hero Group was a sales force from the start. His eponymous debut in 1977 included the hits “Cold as Ice”, https: // “Feels Like the First Time” and “Long, Long Way home. ” The follow-up, “Double Vision”, was another bestseller and included “Hot Blooded”, https: // “Blue Morning, Blue Day “and the title song among his hits. The “Head Games” LP, which included “Dirty White Boy,” continued the streak. By the end of 1980, however, McDonald and his founding colleague Al Greenwood were out of the group.

“4” was released in 1981 and included rock radio staples “Jukebox Hero”, https: // “Urgent” and “Waiting for a Girl Like You. ”“ Agent Provocateur ”discontinued in 1984.

The latter contains the band’s only Billboard No. 1, the catchy ballad “I Want to Know What Love Is”, written by Jones and recorded with the New Jersey Mass Choir.

There would have been some other successes before Gramm left the band in 1990 after his second solo album, “Long Hard Look” of 1989. He joined the band two years later, but health problems forced him to leave. new the group in 2003.

With lead guitarist Jones – the sole founder of Foreigner – the current lineup includes singer Kelly Hansen, bassist Jeff Pilson, drummer Chris Frazier, keyboardist Michael Bluestein, keyboardist-saxophonist Tom Silverstein and guitarist Bruce Watson.

Pilson, who performed with Dokken during the band’s hair-metal heyday, has been with Foreigner for over 15 years, having attended what he thought was a one-of-a-kind show at a California resort in July 2004.

“We were just testing the waters,” Pilson said of the concert from his home in Los Angeles. “Mick had such a great time it convinced him to revamp Foreigner and I’ve been here ever since.”

Members of Little Rock’s Second Presbyterian Church Chamber Choir performing at Sunday’s Foreigner concert include, clockwise from top, Elizabeth Riddick, Leann Hatley, Shea Williamson, Satia Spencer, Moriah Patterson, Janette Robinson and Kira Keating. (Special for the Democrat-Gazette / Keely Reeves)

Foreigner did a series of dates in June and early July before taking a few days off and returning to a long stretch that saw them playing until the fall.

Pilson says that after more than a year without representation due to the pandemic, performing for a live audience has rejuvenated.

“It’s great,” he said without hesitation. “The crowds have been really good.”

For years, the band has invited local choirs to sing on “I Want to Know What Love Is”, but with covid-19, it’s not the best idea yet.

“We found other ways, like getting the choir to open the show and get a little push,” Pilson said. “We’re just trying to do our part for music and music education.”

In press materials, Jones says: “As far as I’m concerned, music is not only the most powerful form of communication between the peoples of the world, it provides a gateway that opens up a fantastic new dimension of feeling and feeling. creativity. we can do to provide our young people with the tools to express themselves through music is our goal in this partnership. “

Foreigner’s donation will go to the Second Presbyterian Children’s Music Department, said Keating, who is also executive director of Wildwood Park for the Arts in west Little Rock.

“The youth music ministry is headed by Mary Ibis, and we have children’s choirs, children’s arts programming, a bell choir. They don’t just sing in church on Sundays, they get a fairly involved music education that complements what they do in school or in private.

The chamber choir consists of 20 professional musicians and has toured North America and Europe.

The singers will fulfill their sacred and secular duties on Sunday, performing at church that morning and for rock fans that evening.

Assistant conductor Eric Meincke, who has completed the Second Presbyterian children’s program and is pursuing a master’s degree in music in choral conducting at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, is working on arrangements for the ensemble, Keating says.

“We put our ideas together and put together some really cool music. Foreigner gave us permission to do one of their songs and we practiced like crazy. I can’t tell you how excited we are about it. . “

Abroad: the greatest successes

  • 7 p.m. Sunday, Simmons Bank Arena, 1 Simmons Bank Arena Drive, North Little Rock
  • First part : Second chamber choir of the Presbyterian church
  • Admission: $ 39.50, $ 69.50, $ 89.50, $ 149.50
  • (501) 975-9000 |

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