High school students to sing with Foreigne

August 7, 2013

The Green Ridge High School show choir, Green Ridge Harmony, spent one of the last Monday’s of summer vacation rehearsing at school, but the students didn’t seem to mind. They sang the same song over and over again, as choir director Melissa Westphal played the accompaniment.

The rehearsal was for a concert Friday at the Missouri State Fair with a big headliner — Foreigner.

Foreigner has invited local high school choirs to sing with them at their concerts during the last few years and thanks to the Grammy Foundation, Green Ridge was selected for the State Fair concert. Westphal said it didn’t take long for the choir to confirm the offer.

“I think I let them know we’d do it within 20 minutes of the phone call,” she said. “I said no matter what’s on the schedule, we’re doing this. We’ll make it work.”

Westphal received the call in May just before school let out for the summer and when she told the students, many of them didn’t believe her, she said.

“At first we asked Mrs. Westphal if she was sure they weren’t talking about another school,” said junior Kelsey Twenter. “We were so excited.”

“Everyone in the whole school could probably hear us screaming about it,” said junior Vanessa Upton.

Most of the students know who Foreigner is but, with a choir full of kids born more than 20 years after the band’s debut album, a few didn’t recognize the name or only knew them as a band their parents listen to.

“I know who Foreigner is and the song we’re singing,” said junior Evette Vincent. “I’m super excited for the concert, but I think my mom might be more excited than I am.”

Green Ridge Harmony was told they’d be singing the chorus of “I Want to Know What Love Is” with the band, and many spent the summer listening to the 1984 hit.

The choir, made up of 26 seventh through 12th grade students, has only practiced a few days during the last two weeks, but the students said they feel ready to perform.

“I’m not stressed at all,” Twenter said. “I’m confident in our group. We’ve all worked hard.”

Prior to the concert, the choir will be selling Foreigner CDs and coordinating a raffle for a Les Paul guitar signed by the band. For their efforts, the Grammy Foundation will donate $500 to the Green Ridge music program.

“The Grammy Foundation has helped a lot of organizations across the country,” Westphal said. “Now they’re helping our kids have fun and raise money, all at the same time.”

The show choir has also seen a large outpouring of support from the small community of Green Ridge. Many residents purchased concert tickets the day they went on sale.

“The whole town of Green Ridge will probably be there,” Westphal said. “It’s a great supportive community. They support us in just about everything we do.”

The small town, and small school of about 200 students, isn’t exactly well-known. Upton joked that maybe after the concert people would know where Green Ridge is located. The concert will not only put Green Ridge on the map, but it’s a rare opportunity for the students involved, she added.

“It’s a good opportunity for us. We’re such a small show choir and we don’t always get chosen for things like this,” said senior Alyssa Haverly. “It’s usually the bigger schools, so it’s nice to be chosen.”

Foreigner and Green Ridge Harmony will perform at the Pepsi Grandstand at 7:30 p.m., Friday. The choir’s debut will be the second-to-last song of the evening. Tickets are available online at or at the State Fair box office. For more information call 530-5600.