ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) - A high school choir group claims an Albuquerque radio station isn't playing fair in a contest and misrepresented how the choir could win a chance to perform with a major touring rock band.
The Española Valley High School choir team thought they won the dream performance - a chance to sign on stage with the British-American rock-band Foreigner. However, they later found out, they hadn't won anything at all.
While he says the opportunity has been inspirational, Brian Wingard, choir director and music teacher for Española Valley High School, says entering the contest has been frustrating.
“I was under the impression that they would stay truer to what they suggested and directly said in their posts,” said Wingard.
Wingard submitted a video of his choir team singing an a cappella version of one of Foreigner’s classic songs, “I Want to Know What Love Is,” in order to enter the contest, which was put on by Albuquerque radio station Coyote 102.5 FM. Later this week, Foreigner will perform a show in Albuquerque.
According to the contest, the winner would get a chance to sing with the band during their concert. Wingard says the contest has inspired his students to improve.
“They've gone from having no confidence to saying, 'I can do it,' and, 'Nothing’s going to stop me,' and that's been the most exciting part of this ride,” said Wingard.
At the end of the submission process, Española Valley High School was selected as one of the three finalists. Online, Coyote 102.5 FM told its Facebook fans to “like your favorite and give them the chance to sing on stage with Foreigner.” In multiple posts, the radio station wrote “give them a chance to win.”
Española’s video racked up 1,300 likes. The next competitor, the La Cueva Main Street Show Choir only had around 800 likes.
But last Friday, the radio station picked La Cueva as the winner. Some of Española's choir members say they feel deceived.
“It really hurts to see that they're going to say, 'Oh no, you don't matter,' because that's what we're hearing,” said Grace Valdez, a senior at Española Valley HS and a choir member.
“We still believe that we earned the prize,” said junior choir member Jessica Pacheco.
However, the radio station points to the contest’s official rules which say, “The grand prize winner will be chosen by Coyote 102.5 management on Friday, October 18th.”
In a statement written to News 13 on Monday, General Manager of Coyote 102.5 FM and Univision Radio New Mexico, Larry Lemanski wrote:
“This was never a contest put to any form of popular vote – in any manner (i.e., Facebook or any other) - ever. Our management staff made a choice, as judges, for what in their opinion was the winner. We wish to thank all who entered.”
The choir says it did see those rules when entering the contest. However, it says with the Facebook post asking for “likes” and stating “give them a chance to win,” the choir says it was under the impression that popular vote was at least a part of the contest.
While Española's choir members say the loss is disappointing, they're also still excited about some upcoming performances. The team will sing the "National Anthem" at the New Mexico State Capitol next month on Veterans Day.
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