The Rolling Stones take to the stage in Toronto Saturday night for the first of three hotly anticipated Canadian concerts.
The band is playing a limited number of gigs on the 50 and Counting tour, which hits Toronto May 25 and June 6 and Montreal June 9.
When band members start into their hit You Can't Always Get What You Want on Saturday night, they’ll have some local talent on stage.
The Cawthra Park Secondary School Chamber Choir has been recruited to provide the chorus for the song. The Stones selects one choir to sing with them in each city they visit.
Choir director Bob Anderson said someone at University of Toronto had recommended the choir after being approached by the Stones’ management.
"I got an email from a lady in London who’s been asked by the Stones to arrange for all the different choirs on this tour," he told CBC News.
His own excitement at the offer was nothing compared to the reaction from the students.
"There was silence at first, then loud screaming, cheering, disbelief, some of them fell on the floor. I understand some of them had trouble convincing their parents it was true," Anderson said.
While Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and the boys are old enough to be grandparents to the choir members, the students have no trouble identifying the band. Many have grown up listening to the Stones in their parents’ music collections.
They were asked to sing in two groups of 12 on either side of the stage with the Stones moving about in the middle. The band also sent information about the music arrangement and the choir has been practising for weeks.
There are still tickets remaining for Saturday’s show, but the price is steep — $624.50 each. Remaining Montreal tickets start at $239. The band has been criticized for the high ticket prices on this tour.
Richards told Billboard the price of tickets is out of the control of band members.
"I'd do some free shows. I'd work my butt off and I don't care how much. But these are set up above my head, man," Richards said. "You're kind of locked in a thing here whether you like it or not. I wish it was five bucks a ticket."
Earlier in the tour, the Stones played a secret show at a club in Los Angeles where fans paid just $20 and were let in by lottery. But that’s not likely to happen again during the Canadian leg of the tour.
Richards also said he has no sympathy for the ticket resellers who are making money off the Stones tour.
"If I see a scalper, I'll scalp him," he said, laughing.
After the Montreal show, June 9, the band will play the Glastonbury Festival June 29 and a series of London shows.