For Season 8 American Idol finalist Matt Giraud, his Feb. 13, 2013, concert at the Salem High School auditorium will finally offer the artist a chance to come home.
Giraud, a transplant to Kalamazoo who was raised in Ypsilanti, appeared Wednesday at Salem High School to work with the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park choirs and perform for and answer questions by students in choir, band and orchestra classes in three separate sessions throughout the morning.
The singer and pianist will return to PCEP on Feb. 13, 2013, for a full concert with one of the Park's choir programs.
"This is my first show close to home," Giraud said. "I'm sure a lot of my family will be here. They'll probably be the whole balcony."
"This was sort of just an introduction to (Giraud), his music and a Q&A session about what it's like to have made it in the music business," PCEP Choir Director Jennifer Kopp said.
Giraud told the orchestra students in attendence during a morning session he got his start on piano by playing percussion, eventually applying his tendency to tap rhythmns with his hands and fingers to piano keys and teaching himself to play.
He told the students his musical background was with gospel and Christian contemporary music, but noted he expanded his musical palette while a student at Western Michigan University to incorporate classic rock and 1990s pop.
Giraud, who finished fifth on Season 8 of the music-based reality show American Idol behind eventual superstars Kris Allen and Adam Lambert, fondly recalled his experience on the national stage, even if his Idol tenure didn't yield a record contract.
"I've been blessed to sell tickets and have concerts all over the place and play my own music," Giraud said. "A lot of the Idols don't get to do that as much."
Giraud records and tours as an independent musician, without support from a record company.
"It's just more fun to do what I want," Giraud said. "When I first got on the show, yeah, I wanted that but as it went along, I saw other Idols and some of their records and how much the (record) labels are just so involved with their music. That would be a nightmare. I'm kind of glad they didn't sign me."
Giraud performed a variety of songs for students at Salem, including a medley of classic Disney songs, the Temptations' "My Girl," the Jackson Five's "I Want You Back" and a healthy dose of original compositions.
Giraud plans Christmas shows
Ticket prices and showtimes for the Feb. 13, 2013 Matt Giraud concert are not yet available, but Giraud also has announced Christmas concerts in Bay City and Midland.