OU Choral Group to Perform with The Rolling Stones< < Back to
You can’t always get what you want, but one Ohio University choir has scored the opportunity of a lifetime.
The Ohio University Singers, an elite choral group within the School of Music, will be performing on stage with The Rolling Stones at Ohio Stadium this summer.
So how did a group of 30 students get the chance to be rock stars?
Dr. Daniel J. Hall, director of Choral Activities at Ohio University and conductor of the Ohio University Singers, said it’s all in the connections. An old instructor of his pointed The Stones in his direction for their upcoming concert in Columbus.
“I was on tour with the Singing Men of Ohio and I got an email from Suzi Digby, who was in charge of putting this thing together. They do this in different cities…Mick Jagger likes to have this kind of traditional choral song, which is called “You Can’t Always Get What you Want,” in which the choir starts and they sing pretty much the whole thing, then he comes walking out.”
Hall had to discuss details and logistics with Digby before he was able to inform his students about this exciting opportunity.
“I played it up big time. I took three-and-a-half minutes to explain that we had this big possibility in May,” he said. “And then I just unloaded and they said, ‘What, what, what?’ I said, ‘We’ve been asked to sing with Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones in Ohio Stadium.’ Somebody went ‘Shut up!’ and I said, ‘No, it’s true.'”
Thirty members of the Ohio University Singers will perform the song with The Rolling Stones. The ensemble is an audition-based choir of around 40 students that performs both classical and contemporary musical selections.
For the Ohio University Singers, a big opportunity like this has united the choir to become a stronger group, and is giving them bigger recognition on campus.
“It’s like an athletic team,” Hall explained. “You play the same game but you play in different arenas, different places, different conditions, whether you’re sick or happy or sad. You put all of that together, and by the end of the year you have a really solid product. It just helps the students to bond, so I think it’s really important.”
People of all ages have been excited by the news of the upcoming concert.
“You say to anybody of any age, ‘Name one of the top five biggest bands ever,’ they’re gonna say ‘The Rolling Stones,'” said Hall. “People’s parents…that was the fun thing. Students’ parents were tripping out, like ‘Oh my gosh, are you serious?’
Although there are currently 36 members in the Ohio University Singers, only 30 will get to perform with The Stones. Originally the number was 24, but Dr. Hall argued to increase it.
“I got back to Suzi and said, ‘I’m gonna have a mutiny on my hands no matter what, but could we please increase it?’ And they increased it to 30,” he said.
Factors such as grades, seniority, attendance and work ethic will be taken into consideration when selecting which students are chosen to perform.
Elicia Gibson, a junior studying strategic communications from Pittsburgh, is in her first year with the choir. She was shocked that of all the Ohio choirs, the Ohio University Singers were selected, but she is confident in their ability to perform well.
“I think we have the right sound that they were looking for. After a while it all started to set in. I was excited,” she said.
Even though Gibson does not know if she’s been selected to sing in the concert, she made sure she would be in Ohio that night.
“My plans are to come back down for it. I’ve already talked to my employer and called off work and everything so I’ll be here.”
Gibson’s excitement about the possibility of performing with The Rolling Stones echoes throughout the entire group.
Kirby Flowers, a Sophomore Music Therapy major, has a taste for more recent music, but is still thrilled about the opportunity.
“I’m not really a huge fan of The Rolling Stones,” admitted Flowers. “But I recognize that it’s a big deal, so that was kind of unreal. They were like ‘Oh yeah, you’re gonna be singing with this giant group that everybody knows about,’ so I was pretty freaking pumped.”
Regardless of the opportunity for current members of the Ohio University Singers, Gibson believes it can serve as a marketing tool for future involvement in any OU choir.
“People who are going to come here, they’ll hear about this. I think this is a great promotional tool before we even perform with The Rolling Stones,” she explained. “Afterwards it’ll become an even bigger one in helping recruit people. I think it will show how great of a choir we are.”
The concert is scheduled for Saturday, May 30 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. For tickets and information, visit the Rolling Stones Tour Page.