Local choir set to rock with the Rolling Stones

Over 50 years ago, the Rolling Stones first played Minnesota. It was 1964 and the gig was at the now closed Excelsior Amusement Park dance hall (closed in 1973) where they were reportedly booed off the stage.

Since then, the gigs have grown as the success of the Rolling Stones has gone nearly unmatched. And on Wednesday night, the legendary band will bring their Zip Code Tour to the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium with a concert capacity of around 50,000. When they take the stage, they will be joined by members of VocalEssence, a local choir, for one song.

"About six weeks ago, I got a phone call from this woman in Los Angeles. Lady Digby. A British lady. She said we received your name, and you know that the Rolling Stones are coming to Minneapolis, and we were told you are a wonderful choir.," said VocalEssence conductor Philip Brunelle, who shares a birth year and month with Mick Jagger.

And with that, six weeks of top secret rehearsals began. While the conductor is now allowed to discuss the big gig, he still cannot say which song they'll sing.

However, there's a good chance VocalEssence will sing the classic "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

A choir In Ohio sang it on May 30th and in San Diego on the 24th.

Rock folklore holds the song was inspired by a man by the name of Jimmy Hutmaker, a once resident of Excelsior. It was back in 1964, and he was in what used to be the Bacon Drug Store when Mick Jagger came in after his show at the Amusement Park. When Mick wanted a cherry coke, and they didn't have cherries, Jimmy looked at Mick and said "well, you can't always get what you want."

Five years later, the Rolling Stones released the famous song. Coincidence?

Wednesday night, Brunelle hopes his choir can make another Minnesota impression on the Stones.

"The singers sound terrific. They will be so happy. Now, they've had some nice groups, but just wait to they hear this. I know what they're in for," said Brunelle.

VocalEssence has a final rehearsal on Wednesday, followed by a choreography rehearsal, then a sound check, and finally…show time!


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