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Florida high school choir to open Foreigner’s Tampa farewell tour stop

The students of Frostproof Middle-High are ready to rock the MidFlorida Credit Union Ampitheatre this weekend.
 
Foreigner performs at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 2, 2017.
Foreigner performs at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 2, 2017. [ JAY CRIDLIN | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published July 6, 2023|Updated July 6, 2023

Before Foreigner brings its farewell tour to Tampa on Sunday, a group of Florida teens will get their own chance to be the “Juke Box Hero.”

About 20 students from Frostproof Middle-Senior High School’s choir will open the concert at MidFlorida Credit Union Ampitheatre.

“I think we’ve all been a little nervous,” said Hayden Wrye, an 18-year-old singer and longtime Foreigner fan. “It’s going to be almost 20,000 people that we’re performing in front of — that’s a pretty big step from the town of Frostproof.”

The Central Florida town, at last count in 2021, has a population of 2,993. Frostproof Middle-Senior High School is the smallest school in Polk County, said choral director Jonathan Carter.

Carter was the one who submitted the recording of his high school students to Foreigner. Back in the fall, the principal’s wife heard about the band’s farewell tour during a Fox News morning show. Foreigner was looking for local high school choirs to open each show.

Members of Frostproof Middle-Senior High School's choir, shown performing here at the school's auditorium, will open for classic rock legends Foreigner during their Tampa concert July 9, 2023. This stop at the MidFlorida Credit Union Ampitheatre is part of the band's farewell tour.
Members of Frostproof Middle-Senior High School's choir, shown performing here at the school's auditorium, will open for classic rock legends Foreigner during their Tampa concert July 9, 2023. This stop at the MidFlorida Credit Union Ampitheatre is part of the band's farewell tour. [ Courtesy of Jonathan Carter ]

Carter didn’t hear back until days before the end of the school year. He quickly put together a setlist: a capella versions of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s version of “Over the Rainbow.”

Students have been rehearsing at home, heading back to campus for a two-hour practice once a week. Some are seniors who have already graduated.

“We are a very determined group,” said Giselle Valdez, 18.

While this might be their largest audience, it isn’t the first time this choir program has performed on a special stage. In 2017, students from Frostproof Middle-High traveled to sing at Carnegie Hall. The next year, some performed in the White House.

“You don’t have to be in a huge school or a massive program in order to do great things,” Carter said.