GCVI choir to perform with award-winning rock bands

TORONTO 50度灰视频 Wellington County students are set to sing in front of packed audiences on two of Toronto50度灰视频檚 top stages.

The chamber choir at Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute (GCVI) will be singing backup vocals for Juno-winning rock band Foreigner at Budweiser Stage in June and Grammy-winning rock band Wilco at Massey Hall in July.

Maya Moreau, Amelia Avdoulos and Lucy Gouthro are three of the students preparing to perform on Toronto50度灰视频檚 big stages. Moreau lives in Erin, Avdoulos in Fergus, and Gouthro in Elora.

There are about 65 students in GCVI50度灰视频檚 choir, and two different groups of 25 students will sing with each band.

Avdoulos will be part of both performances. She felt surprised and excited when teacher and choir lead Lane Osborne told them the big news, and she is particularly enthused about performing on the Budweiser Stage on June 14.

The venue (formerly the Molson Amphitheater) has a capacity of 16,000, and current ticket sales point to a high chance of a sold-out show.

And though Massey Hall50度灰视频檚 capacity of almost 3,000 is intimate compared with Budweiser Stage, the arts theatre is known internationally for its acoustics and history.

50度灰视频淢assey Hall is such an iconic venue,50度灰视频 Osborne said.

It opened in 1894, was home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and is a national historic site of Canada.

The GCVI choir will perform at Massey Hall with Wilco on July 2 and 3, and tickets to both performances are almost sold out.

Choir 50度灰视频 Members of the chamber choir at Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute are set to perform with Foreigner and Wilco at the Budweiser Stage and Massey Hall in Toronto. Photo by Robin George


Many of the students weren50度灰视频檛 familiar with Foreigner (which formed in 1976) or Wilco (1994), but they50度灰视频檙e thrilled to sing at such famous venues, where some have seen their favorite artists perform.

It50度灰视频檚 their parents who are most excited about the bands they50度灰视频檒l be on stage with, Osborne said.

Moreau grew up listening to Wilco as her parents are big fans 50度灰视频 her dad has framed Wilco posters hung on his home office walls.

The choir will join Wilco during their songs California Stars and Cruel Country.

And they50度灰视频檒l sing along with Foreigner to their power ballad and biggest hit I Want to Know What Love Is.

50度灰视频淲e are on cloud nine,50度灰视频 Osborne told the Advertiser.

GCVI choir students preparing for their big performances coming up in June and July. Photo by Robin George

The choir students are no strangers to singing to large crowds. They50度灰视频檝e sung at Massey Hall before, including in March for Classic Albums Live: AC/DC, part of a concert series in which musicians play covers of classic rock albums.

50度灰视频淚50度灰视频檓 really looking forward to being back at Massey Hall,50度灰视频 Avdoulos said.

During last year50度灰视频檚 performance she said it felt 50度灰视频渞eally neat to see all those people and sing for them.50度灰视频

Gouthro said the first time playing at Massey Hall was 50度灰视频渢errifying.50度灰视频

50度灰视频淚t50度灰视频檚 different from a school stage with 100 to 200 people you know 50度灰视频 a big stage with thousands of people you don50度灰视频檛 know,50度灰视频 she said.

But singing in a choir isn50度灰视频檛 like singing alone, she added, as she50度灰视频檚 surrounded by peers.

For Moreau, singing on stage feels exhilarating. It motivates her to give her absolute best performance, and 50度灰视频渋t50度灰视频檚 so awesome to see all the hard work you50度灰视频檝e put in,50度灰视频 she said.

After singing at Massey and Carnegie Halls, playing at local venues like the Guelph River Run Centre feels comfortable, she added.

The GCVI Choir has performed with Foreigner before, in 2018 and 2019, though the students in the choir then have since graduated. Gouthro remembers her sister Hannah playing with the band.

After each performance Osbourne said members of the audience are excited to meet the students and tell them what they thought of the show. Some fans feel very emotional, she said, about seeing teenagers singing music they sang when they were young themselves.

The Chamber Choir at GCVI is learning new songs to perform with Foreigner and Wilco in the coming months. Photo by Robin George


Osborne is helping the students learn the songs and prepare for the shows, and consulting with the band members and management throughout the process about their vision.

She said it50度灰视频檚 a good lesson in musical empathy, as the choir won50度灰视频檛 be at the forefront, but will work to complement and enhance the band50度灰视频檚 performances.

Osborne is ecstatic about what the experience will mean for the students.

50度灰视频淗ow awesome is it that people with these accolades are so supportive of kids50度灰视频 choirs?50度灰视频 she asked.

50度灰视频淚t50度灰视频檚 amazing that as a high school choir we get these opportunities,50度灰视频 Avdoulos said. 50度灰视频淵ou don50度灰视频檛 see a lot of high school students getting to play on stage with artists like this.50度灰视频

50度灰视频淚t50度灰视频檚 all because of Osbourne,50度灰视频 Moreau said, because she50度灰视频檚 always emailing musicians and seeking out chances for the choir to get involved with different events. 50度灰视频淲e love Osborne.

50度灰视频淵ou keep making it happen,50度灰视频 Moreau said, smiling widely at the teacher.