ALTON - Foreigner might like it “Cold as Ice,” but the Marquette Catholic High School (MCHS) Choir is on a winning streak as hot as the sun.
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The choir will be opening for the band Foreigner when they take the stage at the Hollywood Casino on July 19.
“What I’m thankful for with the school is that they get it,” Brett Klaus, MCHS music and theater director, said of the high school. “A lot of these small schools, we’ve been so athletically driven for almost 100 years. They are now seeing what happens when you invest in a music or arts program, which is opportunities they would have never thought possible.”
For decades, Marquette’s choir program was just a student club. Choir became a class not long after Klaus joined the staff, which meant he had almost a full hour every day to work with his students. He says their talent has grown “exponentially.”
Klaus enjoys exploring different styles of music with the singers. In the fall of 2022, the choir performed 80s rock music that was featured on the “Stranger Things” soundtrack. “Stranger Things,” a popular Netflix show about a group of teenagers fighting supernatural threats in the 80s, includes songs from musicians like Journey, Kate Bush and Foreigner itself.
Foreigner’s Farewell Tour starts this summer with Loverboy as the main opener. The band was looking for local choirs in every city to perform a cappella rock music as the first opening act.
In January, Klaus submitted material from that fall concert to the Foreigner choir competition. He received a call five months later on Memorial Day weekend with the good news.
“It was a busy end of the [school] year,” Klaus said. He added that Marquette’s drama program received recognition for their production of “Peter Pan” from the St. Louis High School Musical Theater Awards at the Fabulous Fox Theatre that same weekend. “Friday, we were at the Fox accepting the award. Saturday, I got a call that we were opening for Foreigner.”
Of course, the students have been excited. The MCHS Choir is made up of about 20 students. They started rehearsals for the Foreigner concert this week.
Klaus isn’t giving away any secrets, but he teased that their set will last about ten minutes and include a combination of songs that his students enjoy and a Foreigner audience would love. There are also a few “surprises” planned, as well as an encore.
“Since it’s kind of a male-dominated show, the kids and I was like, ‘Well, why don’t we do a female-centered rock opening to kind of break up the rest of the evening?’” Klaus said. “I’m super excited about what we’re preparing.”
Above all else, Klaus is focused on what his students will experience during this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He’s excited for them to “see another side” of performing as they wait backstage and participate in the soundcheck.
“They’re going to see what it takes as a performer,” Klaus said. “I have some kids who want to go into the performing arts. You’re going to see how it is. Sometimes these opportunities come up, and you just got to grab them and do your best. Maybe you don’t have as much time as you think you would, but they’re going to learn how to focus and prepare. And then when you do that, the reward that comes from that is more than worth all of it.”
He added that when he started at Marquette five years ago, there was no music program besides the choir club. Today, they have multiple music classes and a regionally-recognized drama program on top of the choir’s success, and there are no plans to slow down any time soon.
“The next five to ten years are planned, and we’re going to grow,” Klaus said. “These kids are going to be excited. I can’t wait to open for Foreigner this summer. What else is going to happen in the future?”
More information about the concert, including how to buy tickets, can be found here. MCHS family and friends can purchase concert tickets at a discounted rate.
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