The classic rock band Foreigner’s power ballad “I Want to Know What Love Is” was the most popular song in the country about a decade before today’s high school seniors were born.

That’s why the students in Middle Township High School’s Advanced Choir were not quite sure who the group was when they heard about the opportunity to perform alongside them.

“They said, ‘Well, my parents listen to them,’” said choir director Debby Jenkins. “Which, of course, made me feel like a dinosaur.”

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Nevertheless, Jenkins said, the students are excited about being chosen to sing along with the band during its sold-out show Saturday night at Golden Nugget.

The students competed in a contest organized by radio station KOOL 98.3-FM. A number of local high schools posted videos online, and whoever earned the most votes won.

Middle Township High School Principal Rich Falletta said that getting out the vote for the contest was a communitywide effort.

“I think it shows the type of community we have and the type of support we have for our programs,” he said.

It also showed a lot about the will of the students, who reached out to their friends, family and anyone else they could encourage through a number of social media platforms.

“It’s something they put their minds to and were determined to win,” Falletta said.

The students learned they had won a week ago, and spent the past week practicing. “I Want To Know What Love Is” was the top song in the country for two weeks in 1985, and was originally recorded with the New Jersey Mass Choir. Middle's students will back the band during the chorus.

Foreigner organizes similar contests throughout the country, and donates money to both the winning school and the Grammy Foundation’s MusiCares program, which supports music programs throughout the country.

In addition to singing with the band, the 25 students will also be selling CDs before and after the show, the proceeds of which will go to the MusiCares program.

“My students are so excited,” said Jenkins, of Upper Township. “I’m just really proud of them.”

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