11/17/2014

Foreigner And The Grammy Foundation Award Cherokee National Youth Choir With $10,000

FOREIGNER AND THE GRAMMY FOUNDATION AWARD CHEROKEE NATIONAL YOUTH CHOIR WITH $10,000 PRIZE FOR THEIR WINNING PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MUSIC IN SCHOOLS

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee National Youth Choir was left speechless Thursday when legendary rock band Foreigner surprised them with a visit to the Cherokee Nation to award the choir with a $10,000 check for their winning Public Service Announcement about the importance of music in schools. The 28-member choir was chosen from among 120 entries from choirs nationwide tasked at creating a PSA as part of Foreigner and The GRAMMY Foundation’s longtime commitment to high school music programs. Foreigner Bassist Jeff Pilson and Manager Phil Carson delivered the announcement and prize in person. The winning PSA can be seen here. The Cherokee National Youth Choir was also invited by the band to sing back up for Foreigner at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tulsa singing the chorus for “I Want to Know What Love is” in Cherokee. The choir will use the $10,000 as travel for future appearances and recording studio time for their next CD.

Said Foreigner bass player Jeff Pilson, "Music education is of paramount importance. We are thrilled to be able to award The Cherokee National Youth Choir for their amazing efforts in  promoting high school music, which was so integral in our own lives."  

“Since Cherokee is listed as endangered by the United Nations Atlas of World’s Most Endangered Languages, it’s important as a tribe that we have multiple ways to teach and share our native tongue,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “We’re so very proud of our Cherokee National Youth Choir for being a voice and advocate for our language and to Foreigner and the GRAMMY Foundation for highlighting these students’ achievements.” 

“Music is helping me learn my language,” said one student of the infusion of her native tongue and Foreigner songs. “I like singing Foreigner songs in the Cherokee language because it exposes the language to so many more people when they hear us sing recognizable rock songs.” 

This partnership marks a longtime relationship between Foreigner, regional high school choir programs, and the GRAMMY Foundation® with whom Foreigner has joined in its mission to foster music programs in our nation's schools. Foreigner works closely with high school choirs in each city they play, inviting an area high school choir to join them on stage, and donating funds raised from CD sales to both these choirs and the GRAMMY Foundation®. Foreigner has donated in excess of $600,000 to this and other children's causes over the past several years. 

The Cherokee National Youth Choir is one avenue for youth to learn their language and share Cherokee with crowds across the country. The choir has produced 12 CDs in the Cherokee language. They have performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and venues across the country. Cherokee is listed by the UN as “definitely endangered” with 10,000 or fewer speakers.

For more information on the Cherokee National Youth Choir visit www.cherokee.org and under services click under the education tab.

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