On Aug. 29, RB High’s Madrigals gained the opportunity of a lifetime, to sing with rock-band Foreigner through a contest put on by a local radio-station, 101.5KGB.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Foreigner has invited school choirs onstage with them for the past eight years. The choirs not only get to perform with Foreigner, but the winning music program is awarded a cash grant. The Foreigner contest has been held in various cities throughout the years, such as Chicago, and the requirements have changed. The audition tape requirement was originally only one minute long, and the grand prize was only $1,000.
This year, the GRAMMY Foundation granted $500 to the top-five finalists out of over 500 schools; the top-four finalists at the end of the overall competition at the Sleep Train Amphitheater received another $500, while the first-place winner received $2,500.
RB High was awarded $2,500, bringing home a grand total of $3,000 to the RB Bronco Music Program.
“The contest was actually brought to our attention by one of our parents, Reinhard Siedenburg’s dad, Chris. He approached us and told us about it, and I contacted the radio station telling them I was interested,” said Music Director Lisa Friedrichs. “At the time the audition tape was due, we were actually preparing our Pops Concert, so we just had our platforms out. I asked Bronco TV to record us, and I had Madrigals line-up and just sing to the cameras.”
The senior and president of Madrigals, Aicha Mabene, said that because they were in the middle of preparing for their Pops Concert, they decided to use the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen and Paul Rodgers:
“We already knew our parts; we knew the choreography, and it was a song we all loved singing.”
However, the rock-song audition tape could be no longer than three minutes, while “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a seven-minute-long song.
“We had to cut the song down a fair amount,” Friedrichs said. “Not only that, but in the audition tape that we submitted in May, we had seniors who were no longer students here at RB in August when the competition was. So I had to contact the radio station and make sure that was allowed, and we actually had four of our graduating seniors come back to sing with us during the actual competition.”
Even though Madrigals is the varsity group of our choirs, singing in the Sleep Train Amphitheater is a much grander venue than they are used to.
“When we first arrived at the amphitheater, I really didn’t feel like there was anything different about this performance in comparison to others. It was when we were all standing backstage, waiting to perform when the jitters hit me,” Mabene said. “Hearing the audience clap and chant, that’s when it got to me that this is real, not just school’s competing against schools.”
“The whole competition was based on the audience’s applause, kind of like American Idol and such; it was audience judged, so the louder and the more claps from the audience, the higher the chance of winning,” said Friedrichs. “We came onto the stage, and the song begins ‘Is this the real life,’ and by life, the whole crowd just erupted; we were singing a song they all knew. When Tommy Martinez (a graduated senior) went up there and did the air guitar, I mean, the crowd just erupted; they went crazy.”
Despite some obstacles, the Madrigals rose to the top.
“When I heard that we won, I cheered so loudly,” senior and Vice President Rush Taylor said. “I was so proud of us, and so happy our hard work paid off. I’ll never forget seeing all the flashing lights in the audience; it was amazing.”
With new music and new voices, singing with Foreigner was just the beginning of the Madrigals’ journey this school year.