Campus and local communities welcome Giraud home
May 8, 2009
KALAMAZOO--More than 4,500 area residents turned out to welcome "American Idol" finalist Matt Giraud home to Kalamazoo May 7 after his winning streak on the Fox television show ended.
Giraud, a 2007 Western Michigan University alumnus, was greeted by fans and city and University officials at Kalamazoo's Arcadia Creek Festival Place in downtown Kalamazoo. The celebration was coordinated by Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell, a longtime friend and fan of the popular singer who performed in local venues before being tapped as an "Idol" contestant. Giraud made it into the top five of the program's contestants before being voted out of the competition by viewers at the end of April.
At the public event, Hopewell presented Giraud with a key to the city. Representatives of the city of Battle Creek, Mich., made Giraud an honorary resident and also presented Giraud with a key to the city. Portage City Councimember Ed Sackley presented Giraud with an American flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol in Giraud's name earlier in the week.
May 7 declared "Matt Giraud Day"
A letter from Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who declared May 7 "Matt Giraud Day" in the state, was shared with the crowd, along with congratulatory notes from U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow. State Rep. Robert B. Jones offered his own words of congratulations.
"This has been incredible," Giraud told the crowd. "I want to thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for making my dreams come true."
Giraud, who is still under contract and will tour for "American Idol" later this year, was contractually prohibited from performing at the event, but the crowd that gathered heard a performance by WMU's Gold Company, a vocal jazz ensemble Giraud sang with in college. Additional performers included another group that Giraud performed with locally, Drop 35, and dueling piano players from Monaco Bay Piano Bar and Grill.
University officials took part in a private pre-event reception to welcome Giraud home and thank him for his representation of the city, state and University.
In addition to a long run on the eighth season of "Idol," Giraud has made appearances on a number of national news and talks shows since leaving the competition. They include "Ellen," "The Tonight Show" and "The Today Show." Links to many of Giraud's recent appearances can be found online through YouTube.
Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org