roger-waters

Musician Roger Waters poses for a portrait April 7 in New York. He'll perform The Wall in Toronto for three nights. ((Jeff Christensen/Associated Press))

Former Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters begins his tour of The Wall in Toronto Wednesday, backed by a choir of Toronto students.

Waters has asked a choir from Regent Park School of Music to sing backup on the song Another Brick in the Wall, replicating a performance of the Islington Green School choir on the 1979 record.

The 25 Regent Park students learned recently that they had been chosen for the job and have been working on learning one of the bestselling songs of all time.

"To be honest I hadn't really heard of them ... now that I've listened to them and I love them," said Charlotte Sigel, 15.

She said her mother had told her the group was pretty famous.

It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance for any music student and a big boost for a school that runs on donations and volunteers in one of Toronto's priority neighbourhoods.

Regent Park has been offering this subsidized music education to its students for more than 10 years.

"We know what music lessons do for the self-confidence and esteem of a kid ... it's part of growing up," school director Richard Marsella told CBC News. 

Sang for the Queen, Jays

Marsella can't wait to see the reaction of his students — and their families — when they finally take the stage.

"A lot of these families, some are new to the country. Roger Waters to them is as important as Richard Marsella," he said.

"They said yes to the project, so I can't wait for them to get to the ACC [Air Canada Centre] and to go, 'Wait a minute, there are literally thousands of people here. Who is this guy?'"

These students previously sang for the Queen and for the Toronto Blue Jays' baseball home opener.

This tour is the first time since 1990 that Waters, who has had a career as a solo artist since leaving Pink Floyd in 1985, has performed the entire The Wall album.

Among the special effects for the ambitious concert will be construction and tearing down of a wall 73 metres by 11 metres.

Waters performs for three nights at the Air Canada Centre before going on to Chicago and other U.S. dates.

In October he performs in Kanata, Ont., and Montreal, with a Vancouver appearance in December.

With files from CBC's Kimberly Gale