They don’t need no education, they’ve been through it all before.
When 15 students of the Regent Park School of Music take to the stage at Rogers Centre this evening, they’ll face an astounding crowd – roughly 40,000 for a spectacle performance of The Wall by Roger Waters and his ominous all-in-black band. Ten of the 15 have done the gig previously, as the school was tapped by Waters in 2010 to provide vocals for a rendition of the iconic anti-establishment anthem Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2, with the teens and tweens intoning the eerie mantra (“all in all, it’s just another brick in the wall”) meant as a metaphor for isolationism and classroom thought control.
“It feels like we’re old veterans,” says Richard Marsella, the director of the school, which provides subsidized melodic training to more than 800 children. In 2010, the singers were given little advance notice before their involvement in three sold-out shows of the Pink Floyd rock opera at Air Canada Centre. Waters’ tour was just beginning; it all was a bit of a scramble, with the kids learning their parts from YouTube videos.
Now, “they’ve got it down to a science,” says Mr. Marsella, busy preparing for the school’s move from a row house to the new Regent Park Arts & Cultural Centre. “They’ve given us specific instructions this time.”
Sounds a bit strict and formal, even regimented. Isn’t this rock ’n’ roll? Hey, Roger Waters, leave those kids alone.