MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — The choir group at Cawthra Park Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont., will spend the better part of the month trilling the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” — but as a rare chance to sing at the band’s Air Canada Centre gig approaches, the song’s message doesn’t really ring true.
“I kind of freaked out,” said 16-year-old Iris Wu, describing her reaction to the recent news. “I was like: ‘This is not real life.“’
The early shock now fading, the choir sounded relaxed and polished during a recent run-through of the performance ahead of the May 25 engagement to sing with the British rock titans.
The 24-person choir will be split in two for the gig, stationed at opposite sides of the stage with the Stones in-between and two conductors leading the separate singers in tandem. They were told to wear black, and not to take pictures of the band.
Of course, the talented youngsters making up the choir — most of whom were born in the mid-late ‘90s — might not be uniformly starstruck by the rock legends.
“I actually knew of them through Glee,“’ said 17-year-old Grade 12 student Nicholas Cunha. “After I found out I was singing with them, I went and looked up all of their songs and I actually started to become a fan, because I really do love their music.”
Choir director Bob Anderson, who will conduct the teens along with Sherri Collins, was a little more familiar with the rockers’ well-loved oeuvre.
“The Rolling Stones, right now, are my absolute favourite group in the world,” he said with a smile, noting that in fact he mainly listens to choral music but grew up dancing to the Stones.
Still, he relates that the choir pretty much went berserk after he gradually teased out the details of the performance.
“They were on the floor, they were on their chairs, they were all over the place,” he said.
Many of their parents might have had a similar reaction.
“Both of my parents, they were born in the ‘50s, so they definitely grew up with them and they knew all their songs,” Cunha said. “I texted them (when I found out), and they texted back with gibberish, because they were so excited.”
Yet not all those families are going to be able to witness the show in person.
The tour, which has been dogged by reports of slow sales and accusations of price-gouging, is still a bit pricey even for many proud parents.
“I’m pretty sure it’s like $900 a ticket,” said 18-year-old Grade 12 student Natalie Panacci, a “really big Stones fan” who whipped her water bottle to the ground and burst into tears when she heard the news that she was going to get to join them onstage.
So will she aim for a word or two with her heroes?
“I don’t want to be that fangirl to go up screaming at them because they’re probably going to be in a different world focusing on the show and everything,” Panacci said. “I would be very mature about it, or at least I’d try to be.”
Cunha, meanwhile, planned a similarly cautious approach.
“I would say hi,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll be all buddy-buddy with them because I’d be afraid of being taken away by a bodyguard.”
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