It’s hard to convey in print the excitement in the voices of Kelsey Laing and Kaylee Kutschera when asked if they were fans of the band Simple Plan.
“I am so excited, I am star struck,” said Laing, her voice vibrating with exhilaration.
Laing, a student from Princess Margaret Secondary and Kutschera, from Penticton Secondary, have good reason to be excited. They both were selected as part of the 20-student choir that will be joining Simple Plan to sing This Song Saved My Life when the band plays at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Feb. 9.
Laing was one of the last two to sign up for the choir, after hearing about it from a friend, also in the choir.
“Are you serious? I am going to it, but I want to sing in it,” was Laing’s response to her friend. “I am so excited.”
The choir’s part in the song is fairly simple, said Kutschera, but they will be going to a formal rehearsal the night before, where they hope for a chance to meet the band members.
“It’s just a special song. We wrote the song about the power of music and what kind of influence it can have on someone’s life,” said Chuck Comeau, the band’s drummer and one of the main writers. “Doing it live and having the kids come out and sing with us is going to be great.”
Comeau explained that This Song Saved My Life has a unique history, built from thousands of replies to a tweet from Simple Plan asking fans to tell them about how music affected their life.
“We went through all of them, picked the best ones and turned them into a song,” said Comeau. “It’s a song by the fans about the fans. It’s just about the power of music.”
For Laing, it’s just one of her favourite songs, one that even has the potential to make her cry. But she doesn’t expect that to be a problem on performance night.
“I’ll be fine, I am just going to have this big smile on my face on stage singing it,” said Laing.
Choir director Justin Glibbery has confidence in all his singers, and isn’t expecting any cases of stage fight.
“Perfect, no problem. Good thing we only have one bar,” he joked. The singing is the easy part, he explained, and having a simple part will allow the students to focus on dealing with the bright lights and other aspects of stagecraft.
“It’s very cool, the first time it has ever happened. It’s really cool for the kids,” said Glibbery. “They will probably never have a chance to do something like this within their lifetime.”
Comeau said he and his bandmates are also looking forward to the experience. This is the only stop on their tour where will be having a choir on stage with them.
“Hopefully they will have a good time singing it with us. We know we will,” said Comeau.
Don Grant, music director for both high schools, echoes Glibbery’s comments about the experience the students are about to have.
“It’s the first time the Pen High and Maggie choirs have been together for a long time and to work with the SOEC and just engage these kids in a high end professional show, both schools together, I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Grant said.