NEW PRAGUE, Minn. (WCCO) — A group of small town choir students found themselves on the big stage Monday night.

“This absolutely is my 15 minutes of fame,” New Prague senior Matt Schoenbauer said. “I can’t even fathom what it’s going to be like on stage. I’m pumped.”

Twelve members of the New Prague choir won a chance to sing on stage with the classic rock band Foreigner at Xcel Energy Center Monday night. They beat out 20 other Minnesota schools to get on the big stage.

“We are so excited. This is unbelievable,” senior Sara Schoenbauer said.

Both Matt and Sara are excited to be on stage with a band their parents grew up listening to.

“I’m more excited for them,” Sara’s mom, Traci Schoenbauer said. “I’m not too nervous. Because I don’t have to stand up there in front of all those people.”.

A Foreigner cassette tape may itself be a foreign concept to some of these kids, but Foreigner’s songs are timeless: “Hot-Blooded,” “Cold As Ice,” and “I want to Know What Love is.” It’s that last song that got members of the New Prague choir on stage with the multi-platinum group.

“Some of the kids have never been to a concert before, so to think that they get to perform at the first concert they are ever experiencing,” choir director Ryan Uttech said. “There are going to be lots of bright lights.”

It’s all because the choir submitted a demo of them singing “I Want to Know What Love Is” into a contest. The contest is part of a partnership between Ford and Foreigner. By winning they get to sing back-up to lead singer Kelly Hansen, who came to the New Prague Ford Dealership just to hear his newest band members.

“You are able to create something out of nothing and it works for all of us,” Hansen said.

Hansen said part of the idea behind the contest is to raise money for music programs at public schools. He said the band gets as much out of it as the students do.

“It’s really heart-warming, and it makes us feel that much better about what we are trying to do,” he said.

New Prague’s choir received a $500 donation from both Ford and Foreigner, and they had a chance to raise another $6,000 on Monday. Every time someone test drove a car at the dealership that day, Ford donated $20 to the program.

John Lauritsen