PORT ORCHARD — When the legendary rock band Foreigner takes the stage for the final performance of its 40th anniversary tour, singers from South Kitsap High School will join it.
The chamber choir, under the direction of Mike Allen, won a contest hosted by KZOK radio to provide vocal back-up on "I Want to Know What Love Is" in Foreigner's Sept. 9 concert at White River Amphitheater in Auburn.
"I'm a kid of the '80s. I've seen Foreigner in concert multiple times," Allen said. "It's just really cool for the kids to get different types of experiences. This is way outside the box."
Founded in 1976, Foreigner is known for some of rock and roll's most enduring anthems, including "Juke Box Hero," "Feels Like the First Time," "Cold as Ice," "Waiting for a Girl Like You," and the soulful ballad "I Want to Know What Love Is."
Founding member, guitarist and songwriter Mick Jones reformed the band after a 2002 hiatus, selecting Kelly Hansen as the new lead singer to bring the band into its next era. And it's been going strong ever since, touring annually, with bookings into the foreseeable future.
"The past is glorious. The present is very busy, and the future looks great for the band," said John Lappen, director of marketing for Foreigner.
The anniversary tour kicked off in Syracuse, New York, on July 11. Along the way, the band was joined at different locations by former members, including former frontman Lou Gramm, who with Jones was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013.
Auburn is the final stop on Foreigner's anniversary tour.
Throughout the tour, youth choirs across the country have been invited on stage to join the band in "I Want to Know What Love Is." It's a tradition that got started eight years ago as part of Foreigner's partnership with the Grammy Foundation, which provides grants to promote music education in financially challenged schools. Foreigner has raised over $1 million for the foundation through CD sales before and after concerts.
To date, more than 500 high school choirs have sung with Foreigner. "This has really become a significant part of the band's show," Lappen said. "The biggest winners, we always feel, are the kids because they get to jump on stage, probably for the only time in their life, with a band like this."
South Kitsap's chamber choir won't get any dress rehearsal for its big performance. Just a few quick tips and instructions before they go on stage at the venue, which has a capacity of 16,000.
The choir was one of 10 to submit an audition video featuring "I Want to Know What Love Is."