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Big Spring choir a long, long way from home - Odessa American: Education

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Big Spring choir a long, long way from home

A cappella group joins Foreigner on stage Friday night

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Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014 7:00 am

Brycen Kiker, 17, has one of the deepest voices on the Big Spring High School Rhapsody choir, but after the 25 students found out this week they won a radio contest to perform on-stage with Foreigner — things changed.

“I beat out the girls. I hit the highest note with my scream,” Kiker said. His low register was back to normal as he laughed about it Wednesday afternoon from the Big Spring High choir room.

Foreigner — for those who don’t know (most of Rhapsody’s choir) — is a 1970s rock band famous for songs like “Feels Like the First Time,” “Cold As Ice,” “Jukebox Hero” and the song the students will sing with the band “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

Foreigner takes the stage at the Wagner Noël Performing Art Center sold out show on Friday night.

Big Spring choir teacher Anna Gann brought the idea of entering the contest to her a cappella show choir, who decided to go for it.

Up against some tough competition of Permian High School’s Black Magic choir, and two other choirs in Midland, some students admit they weren’t counting on winning. The community was invited to vote for their favorite video of the choirs performing a Foreigner song.

“It was nerve-wracking,” Belle Guillory, 17, said. “We knew Permian was in it, we overcame it and won.”

They actually outdid everyone else in a landslide with more than 8,000 votes, Classic 102.1’s Kris Moore said.

“I think every single person voted in Big Spring,” Guillory said.

The big announcement, which was made in person, sent the students into various stages of shock.

Girls were crying.

Kiker was screaming like a girl.

And Roy Gomez, 17, got some serious leg cramps. He’s still not sure how he cut off circulation to his appendages.

“I was excited. I held my breath. I said ‘I have to tell my mom about this,’” Gomez said.

The Rhapsody choir members refer to themselves as a family, Gomez said. All brought together by Gann. She is a graduate from Big Spring High and returned five years ago to give back to her community, Gann said. When she returned to the Big Spring High halls there was just one period of choir — now there are five periods and 220 students in choir.

Gann also resurrected the Rhapsody show choir.

“We’re a big group of fun-loving people who have a passion for singing,” Rikki Salgado, 17, said. “What helps is Mrs. Gann. She’s fun, outgoing and fun-loving but serious too, you gotta be on her good side.”

In a special treat for the Rhapsody choir, Gann rented a limousine to caravan them from Big Spring on Friday afternoon to Wagner Noël. They rehearse the song with Foreigner before the show starts and will get up on stage toward the end of the set.

Meanwhile that night, they will help sell CDs and DVDs that benefit the Grammy Foundation and music education. The choir won’t be able to watch the show, since it’s sold out, Gann said.

They also receive $500 for the choir program from Foreigner; it’s become a routine for the band to invite a local choir on stage with them and promote music in the schools. Moore, at Classic Rock 102.1, said the station was overjoyed to host the contest for Foreigner and applauded the hard work of every choir.

“We were absolutely overwhelmed by how many people voted and got involved and how good the videos were,” Moore said. “They put in a lot of work. It was just incredible.”

With two days to go before Kiker, also a varsity baseball player, sings on stage in front of 1,800 people he’s working on calming his nerves. Much like a baseball game, he said.

“Then you got to get your head in the game,” Kiker said.

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