SUGAR LAND, Texas – Tuesday night, about 350 students from Kingwood High School got the chance to not only attend a KISS concert, they got to meet the legendary rock band and dance during the performance.
The band used its concert at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land to raise awareness about a fundraiser to help the Humble ISD school, which sustained major damage during Hurricane Harvey.
The storm’s floodwaters destroyed band, choir, orchestra and theater equipment in the fine arts department.
"I personally appreciate this," said Kingwood High School sophomore Kailey Beneda. "As you can tell I'm a big KISS fan.” Beneda had her face painted for the concert.
Beneda is a member of the orchestra. Her instrument was OK, but she can’t say the same for some of her peers.
“Mine wasn't, so I was actually really lucky, but my friend, her viola was in the flood and got destroyed,” Beneda said.
It wasn’t just the fine arts department that received damage, the entire first floor of Kingwood High School flooded, forcing the school to close its doors for the school year.
“We’re still going through a lot of challenges, I mean, the Kingwood High School project is between $30 and $40 million,” said Humble ISD Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen. “We would love to get in there sometime this school year, but at this point it looks like next fall.”
Kingwood High School faculty and staff are sharing a campus with Summer Creek High School.
Kingwood High School Principal Ted Landry said they’re working off of a split day, meaning his students and staff occupy Summer Creek High School in the afternoons.
“The athletic teams are borrowing equipment from local high schools and have been so gracious, and Summer Creek High School, our orchestra is playing on their equipment and our band is using borrowed and refurbished equipment,” explained Landry.
He said they were able to save some instruments, but he's hoping through donations they’ll be able to replace the damaged ones.
The fundraiser to help restore the music sheets, instruments and theater equipment is part of the Grammy Museum Foundation.
Paul Stanley, a guitarist and lead singer for KISS, spoke with KPRC 2 before the concert and said it was important for them to shed light on Kingwood High School’s situation.
"Music is such an integral part of growing up, and when school music is in danger and when instruments are in short supply it's really a call for people in positions like us to come out and say, 'This can't happen,'" Stanley said. "So, whether it's donations on our part or making the public aware of it, music is essential."
Students, along with other concertgoers, had the chance to take pictures with KISS.
During the band's mega hit, “Rock and Roll All Nite,” the students filled the aisles and front row of the concert, sang along, danced and tossed confetti.
“Just to be up there and to know that they knew about Kingwood, it was really awesome,” said Alexis Spinks, a varsity cheerleader at Kingwood High School.
“It’s really heartwarming to see a band of such prestige go out there for us and really support the community,” said Matthew Logan, the high school’s theater director. “You see, some of these kids, and they’ve lost everything, you know? They lost their school. They lost their houses, and to have something so big that is helping raise funds to help them go back to normalcy is really amazing.”
To donate to the fundraiser, click or tap here here.
Also during the concert, Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman gave Kiss keys to the city after the band honored service members and pledged allegiance to the United States flag.