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Mashantucket - Though they're too young to remember when Foreigner's classic hits were at the top of the charts, members of the Stonington High School Chamber Choir were enthusiastic about singing "I Want To Know What Love Is" with the band at Foxwoods' MGM Grand Theater Sunday night.
The 21-member choir, which is composed of the school's most advanced choir students, was invited to sing with the band after winning Foxwoods' "Sing With Foreigner" contest.
Jordan Auber, who sings tenor in the choir, said it was "just wonderful to be able to come and sing in front of four thousand people."
Auber, who is also a drummer in a band and considering studying music in college, said that he wasn't terribly familiar with Foreigner but "I've got them on my iTunes."
The chamber choir performs seasonal concerts at the school, but this is its first time singing with a band, said alto singer Haley Barravecchia.
Barravecchia, a junior, was selling Foreigner CDs with fellow choir member Wyatt Floyd near the entrance to the MGM Grand Theater before the show. The proceeds will go to the Grammy Foundation, which supports school music programs in need.
The two have participated in choir since freshman year and the group is now like family, said Barravecchia.
She and Wyatt said that the director, Chris Stanley, did a "phenomenal job" helping them get this opportunity.
Stanley heard about the contest through a student's mother who worked at Foxwoods just before the deadline. He arranged a piece for the chamber choir that night, and taught it to them in one class period the next day.
They filmed it that day, uploaded it to Foxwoods' Facebook page, and were selected as one of three finalists.
The finalists performed on Better Connecticut in late April, and Stonington received the most votes, winning them the chance to sing on Sunday.
The choir had only a few chances to practice the song after finding out that they had been selected, said Auber and did impromptu rehearsals in places like the parking lot.
Stanley said that Stonington's win "shows that we have a pretty good following and a lot of supporters," pointing out that several teachers and students from the school attended the concert.
But ultimately, although he admits he's biased, Stanley believes they won because they were the sounded better than the other finalists.
The students watched the show from a VIP box before being called on stage at the end of the show to sing the power ballad, swaying together in turquoise T-shirts. The audience participated and gave the choir a lengthy round of applause.
"All of the parents of these kids are so excited because we've listened to Foreigner," said Liz Hall, mother of chamber choir member Libby and a music booster for the high school.
While the students might not have grown up listening to the band, they recognized their hits, said Hall.
And several students even brought records for the band to sign.
One of those students, choir member Asa Stafford, owns all the Foreigner albums on vinyl and has seen them live four or five times.
Singing with the band is a "once in lifetime opportunity," he said. "It's just so cool to have a local choir singing with a world-famous band."