Greenfield-Central choir feeling 'very lucky' ahead of Carb Day performance with Foreigner

The Greenfield-Central Madrigal Singers rehearse for their Carb Day performance with Foreigner. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
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GREENFIELD, Ind. (WTHR) — It's not every day that a high school has a choir dedicated to only singing Renaissance music — yes, the a cappella kind from the 16th century, complete with old costumes.

It's even less likely to see that choir get the opportunity of a lifetime: performing with a legendary rock band on stage in front of thousands of fans.

Greenfield-Central's Madrigal Singers will do just that when they step on stage with Foreigner during Friday afternoon's Carb Day performance.

They heard about a radio contest, submitted their audition, and campaigned to get enough votes to win.

"I had an uncle's wedding where I just gave a bunch of family members the link to vote," said junior Cael Savidge.

Another student said she had her mom post about it on Facebook and share it with other parents and friends who also voted.

It worked.

The Greenfield-Central Madrigal singers rehearse for their Carb Day performance with Foreigner in the school's choir room, Monday, May 20, 2019. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
The Greenfield-Central Madrigal singers rehearse for their Carb Day performance with Foreigner in the school's choir room, Monday, May 20, 2019. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
Choir director Paul Director plays the piano during rehearsal with the Greenfield-Central Madrigal Singers Monday, May 20, 2019. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
Students raise their hands when asked how many of them knew Foreigner prior to their Carb Day performance with the band. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
Choir Director Paul Grizzard in the choir room of Greenfield-Central High School with the Greenfield-Central Madrigal Singers, Monday, May 20, 2019. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
Paul Grizzard directs the Greenfield-Central Madrigal Singers in the school's choir room before their CarbDay performace with Foreigner, Monday, May 20, 2019. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
Paul Grizzard instructs students in Greenfield-Central's Madrigal group, Monday, May 20, 2019. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
The Greenfield-Central Madrigal singers rehearse for their Carb Day performance with Foreigner in the school's choir room, Monday, May 20, 2019. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
Junior Cael Savidge talks to WTHR's Ben Hill at Greenfield-Central High School, Monday, May 20, 2019. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
Senior Ivy Rowe sang the solo for Greenfield-Central's Madrigal Singer's audition to sing with Foreigner on Carb Day. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
Senior Ivy Rowe's reaction to finding out she would get to perform with Foreigner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Carb Day. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
Choir director Paul Grizzard discusses winning a contest that allowed his choir to perform with Foreigner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Carb Day. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
Choir director Paul Grizzard discusses winning a contest that allowed his choir to perform with Foreigner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Carb Day. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
The Greenfield-Central Madrigal Singers rock to the beat of "I Want to Know What Love Is" by Foreigner while rehearsing for their Carb Day performance with the band. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)

It was Cael's mother who first heard about the contest and convinced choir director Paul Grizzard to enter his group. They learned Foreigner song "Juke Box Hero" in about 45 minutes, recorded it a few times to get it right, then sent in their audition video. Two weeks later, the choir found out they won.

"I think that was really exciting for the kids," Grizzard said. "At this time of year, motivation across the board is low, especially for seniors." Grizzard said to be able to perform on their last official day of classes before final exams is a great way to cap off the seniors' high school career.

Senior Ivy Rowe sang the solo in the group's audition, which was an honor since Foreigner is one of her favorite bands ever. And the cherry on top: Her 18th birthday is also Friday.

"It'll be a pretty cool experience," Ivy said. "I am going to try to be as calm as I can."

Greenfield-Central student Ivy Rowe laughs with Ben Hill during an interview Monday, May 20, 2019. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)
Greenfield-Central student Ivy Rowe laughs with Ben Hill during an interview Monday, May 20, 2019. (WTHR/Camille Hayes)

That's a different story than when she first found out they won the contest.

"I realized we actually won, like, 'Oh my God, oh my God, we are going to sing with Foreigner!"

Despite the high schoolers being born decades after Foreigner first burst into the rock music scene in the 70s, there's still a deep appreciation.

Grizzard said while all of his students may not have known Foreigner by name, every one of them knew their songs.

Friday afternoon the group will sing Foreigner classic "I Want to Know What Love Is" with the band.

"Some music is timeless and I believe it is one of those songs, or just one of those bands which just does carry through just generations."

The kids seemed to be handling the nerves pretty well for a performance of this magnitude.

Cael has never even been to a concert. He'll get a chance to watch the 90-minute set before joining the band on stage for the second-to-last song.

"It is kind of cool my first-ever concert I am going to I am performing in."

Ivy said she recognizes the pressure, she she's confident they're prepared.

"You are the one everyone's looking at, so you gotta sell it."

It will be a new experience for Foreigner as well, who has never played at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"Even Foreigner, who has een doing this (for) 30 years, is kind of in awe at the venue and I think we are very lucky to do this at such a large stage," Grizzard said.