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Students Jasmeen Siddiqui, left, Melissa Adams, Nicholas Cunha, Natalie Panacci, Ryan Vu, Iris Wu and Matthew Borg in the Cawthra Park Secondary Chamber Choir practice to accompany The Rolling Stones in concert. (Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)
Students Jasmeen Siddiqui, left, Melissa Adams, Nicholas Cunha, Natalie Panacci, Ryan Vu, Iris Wu and Matthew Borg in the Cawthra Park Secondary Chamber Choir practice to accompany The Rolling Stones in concert. (Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)

MUSIC

The Rolling Stones, and my high school choir! Add to ...

Mississauga’s Cawthra Park Secondary Chamber Choir has a high-profile gig coming up: they will perform Saturday at the Air Canada Centre with the Rolling Stones.

Local choirs are joining the Stones at stops on their “50 and Counting Tour,” to help them sing the classic You Can’t Always Get What You Want. Various school choirs will be performing with the band at different stops along the tour. The choir will also join the band for their June 6 concert date.

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They describe their excitement about being selected in their own words:

Bob Anderson, choir director
“I received an e-mail from a lady in London, England, who’d been asked by the Stones to put together all the choirs for [their tour]. She had been in touch with Hilary Apfelstadt [the director of choral programs] at the University of Toronto. She was familiar with our work and she recommended our choir.

It was late Saturday night. I don’t even know why I checked my e-mail. I had just come back from our music department trip to Philadelphia and it had been a very long day. But something told me to check the e-mail and there was this invitation.

I ran down the hall and woke up my wife. About four days later it was all confirmed. It happened pretty quickly.”

 

Jasmeen Siddiqui
Grade 12 student, 17
“Mr. Anderson played You Can’t Always Get What you Want. Some people were like, ‘Who sings this song?’ I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, no, this can’t be real.’ I was speechless. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t even see. My vision blurred, I was dizzy.

Everybody in my family listens to [the Rolling Stones]. We used to play them around the house. Today my favourite song is probably Sympathy for the Devil.

I really like Ruby Tuesday too. It changes every day.”

Melissa Adams, Grade 12 student, 17
“Everyone was screaming and crying and dropping to the floor. I was just sitting there kind of confused. After it all sunk in I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re gonna be performing with the Rolling Stones!’

What other high school choir gets to perform with such a phenomenal group?”

 

Iris Wu, Grade 11 student, 16
“I was actually the only one in the choir who wasn’t present when Mr. Anderson announced it because I was in California. I found out through Facebook. A lot of the choir people had already posted status updates about it.

I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was fake or a scam but it’s true. We are singing with the Rolling Stones. I freaked out in my hotel room.”

 

Ryan Vu, Grade 12 student, 18
“I’m not necessarily nervous because as a group it always feels comfortable singing together. If it was a solo opportunity it would be more nerve-wracking.

My parents were just shocked. They thought I was kidding and my cousins were like, ‘Oh, that’s crazy,’ because they are big fans as well. Of course they are jealous. I’m the only musical one in the family so they think that I’m a star. They are proud.”

 

Natalie Panacci, Grade 12 student, 18

“My favourite song is either Angie or Brown Sugar. Angie just gets me and everybody loves Brown Sugar.

Mick Jagger’s voice is just amazing. He brings a presence to the stage. The chemistry is always awesome.

But I think I’m most excited about the piano player [Chuck Leavell]. He’s performed with the Allman Brothers and I’m a fan of them. If I come across him I’ll be really excited.”

 

Nicholas Cunha, Grade 12 student, 17

“I’m not necessarily nervous, about the performance itself, but I’m kind of nervous about being backstage, seeing someone walk by and maybe being dumbfounded.

For the sound check, when we run through the pieces, I’m pretty sure they’re going to be there right beside us. Afterwards, backstage, we will probably get to meet them and say hi. I will just try to act cool and not act crazy around them. I want to keep my composure but still show that I really respect them as musicians.”

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