CLEARFIELD – If you are going to see Foreigner at the Clearfield County Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 3, you will witness a bonus performance from some local talent.
Prior to the concert, the Clearfield Area High School Choir will perform a few a cappella songs.
“I was contacted (by a representative from the band) in the spring about this,” said Andrew Rothrock, director of the choir.
It had been a tradition that the band sings with local kids prior to the COVID pandemic. Currently Foreigner’s management arranges for the local choirs to perform separately before the show.
Foreigner is also making a $500 donation to the choir in connection with their concert as their way of giving back to the community.
Rothrock explained he was given: “free reign’ to pick whatever pop songs he wanted for the students to perform.”
A few of the songs he chose were “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and “Every Breath You Take”.
Only 15 students will take part in this concert because “I couldn’t bring the whole choir,” Rothrock said.
Those involved who volunteered to do it, will be in 10th, 11th and 12th grades in the fall.
“The kids are giving up time during their summer vacation for this.”
The choir for this performance includes Abigail Simcox, Victoria Graham, Chelsea Radaker, Nicolette Maines, Lillian Mercado, Sage Hoppe, Peyton Norris, Ella Sheets, Isabelle Carfley, Elizabeth Catherman, Ethan Sorbera, Evan Forcey, Ian Gibson, Mason Marshall and Isaiah Snyder.
When asked if any of the students actually knew who Foreigner was, Rothrock stated that they were excited about the concert, then some asked “Who is that?”
However, after they heard the title of some of the group’s hits, they recognized the music.
In case you also missed the late 1970’s and 1980’s, the group had major hits beginning in 1977 with “Feels Like the First Time” and “Cold As Ice.”
Other top singles such as “Hot Blooded”, “Double Vision”, “Waiting for a Girl Like You” and “I Want to Know What Love Is” followed.
The original group included Mick Jones, Ian McDonald, Lou Gramm, Dennis Elliott, Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi.
As with many groups that last 40 years, the line up has changed over the years.
Mick Jones still performs with the band, but the other current members are lead vocalist Kelly Hansen, Jeff Pilson (bass), Michael Bluestein (piano), Bruce Watson (guitar), Chris Frazier (drums) and Luis Maldonado (guitar).
Rothrock said after hearing the band’s name, of course the teens Googled them and they quickly discovered some members of the original lineup have died, which led them to question if this group really was Foreigner.
“I compared it to a Broadway Show, saying it is like ‘Wicked’ where they started with one cast but when the run ends, it is not the original cast performing anymore.”
Rothrock referred to this as a “unique opportunity,” adding that both he and the students can’t wait for this performance.
Foreigner’s music is still popular with audio and video streams of over 15 million every week, according to information on their Web site, foreigneronline.com.
“Foreigner’s connection to a younger demographic is illustrated by the massive increase in streaming generated by the band’s songs being used in such hit movies and TV shows as ‘Rock of Ages’, ‘Good Boys’ and ‘Stranger Things’”.
Their music has also been adapted into a musical, “Jukebox Hero,” which launched in Toronto in 2019.
Overall, Foreigner has sold more than 80 million albums.
For any group to endure, they need to have a strong catalog of music from a talented songwriter. Mick Jones was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013.
Tickets for the concert are available at clearfieldcountyfair.com. Prices are $48 for track/bleachers standing room only and $43 for the grandstand. Tickets purchased prior to July 31 include the price of admission to the fair.
For more information, you can call the fair office at 814-765-4629.