In addition to bringing their catalog of classic songs to region fans in Hammond today, Foreigner will be giving a local choir the opportunity to sing along on one of their biggest hits.
"We like to help out in any way we can with music programs in schools," said Tom Gimbel, rhythm guitarist and saxophonist with Foreigner. "When kids are growing up, it's important for them to have something to be a part of."
Gimbel said it's been a tradition for Foreigner to provide the opportunity for local school and community choirs to perform with them during various concerts on their tours. The choirs join in with the rock band on Foreigner's ballad "I Want to Know What Love Is," spotlighting lush harmonies.
Foreigner will bring their show with Survivor to Wolf Lake Pavilion in Hammond at 5:30 p.m. today. The Books Brushes & Bands for Education Community Choir will perform with the band.
Gimbel said Foreigner has been involved with VH1's Save the Music Foundation through the years. The foundation helps to promote music education awareness.
"After we got involved with Save the Music, that led us to The Grammy Foundation," Gimbel said. The foundation also has a Grammy in the Schools program dedicated to helping to preserve music education for youngsters and high school students.
"I sang in the choir when I was in school. It brings people together," Gimbel said, adding when youngsters also learn to play an instrument it stimulates a different part of the brain and encourages creativity.
Michelle Golden, founder and board president for Books, Brushes & Bands for Education, said the students are excited. She said the youngsters' parents who grew up with the sounds of Foreigner are even more excited.
"Our band is grateful for the opportunity. It will give us huge exposure," Golden said. She added the community band also performed during the Led Zeppelin-inspired concert with Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra at Festival of the Lakes earlier this summer.
"It is a dream come true to be a part of this," Golden said.
For Gimbel, continuing to bring the hits of Foreigner to concertgoers, is still a rewarding experience.
"Being in a band where the music is so incredible is great. And there's nothing like getting to play those cool riffs with Mick Jones," Gimbel said.
English American band Foreigner got its start in the late '70s by founder Mick Jones, and Ian McDonald along with other musicians including vocalist Lou Gramm. The band's roster today features Jones, Gimbel, lead singer Kelly Hansen, Jeff Pilson, Michael Bluestein and Mark Schulman.
Favorite tunes from the Foreigner catalog that are bound to be on the Hammond set list include "Double Vision," "Feels Like the First Time," "Cold as Ice," and "Waiting for A Girl Like You."
Foreigner is currently promoting its latest compilation titled "Feels Like the First Time." The compilation features an acoustic CD of the classics unplugged; a CD titled "Juke Box Heroes" featuring brand new digital recordings of the band's greatest hits and a "Live in Chicago" DVD.
Gimbel said it's exciting to see their fan base is "spanning the generations" these days.
"I see little kids that know the words to our songs in the audience now," he said.