THAT TIME I PERFORMED WITH THE ROLLING STONES

This happened exactly a year ago. Thanks for the request, @franksars!
  1. Early last April I got an email from my choir director that said
    "I have been asked to assemble 24 singers for a very high-profile event in Pittsburgh in late June (not classical). This is a commitment, so if you agree, you MUST be available."
  2. At first I was going to say no because I didn't know what my summer plans were.
  3. But then I saw that the email only went to certain members of the choir, and I felt honored to have made the cut.
    This guy is a very big deal in music and he's a little scary and I never was quite sure where I stood with him.
  4. So I said I'd be there.
  5. Within the next few days, Taylor Swift and Kanye West both announced Pittsburgh dates in late June.
    I remember joking with my roommates about performing with Yeezy, never really expecting it to be anything like that.
  6. Then FINALLY the day after our concert, the good Dr. K told us that the "high-profile event" was a ROLLING STONES CONCERT.
    Apparently, whenever they tour, they scout local choirs to sing You Can't Always Get What You Want during their encore. Even though we weren't super local to Pittsburgh, someone on the RS tour team knew our director, and asked if he could put a group together.
  7. Fast forward to June 20th, we all boarded the bus for Pittsburgh!
    The university let us use the football team's fancy bus because suddenly the arts were important!
  8. When we arrived we got backstage wristbands before being briefed by the tour manager
    We were not to ask the band for autographs or speak to them unless spoken to. Throughout the afternoon their staff kept saying stuff like "Today you are ALL members of the Rolling Stones, so if you want an autograph from the Rolling Stones, just ask for each other's signatures." 🙄
  9. Then we went to our dressing room, which was the press box of Heinz Field (the football stadium from The Dark Knight Rises)
  10. Soon we had a music rehearsal with their music director, who said we were the best choir they'd ever had, and their choreographer, who I recognized as Chuckie Klapow, the choreographer of HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 1, 2, and 3!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Literally dead
  11. THEN we went down to the stage to get fitted with our in-ear monitors.
  12. We had two sound checks. The first was just us and then later we had one WITH THE BAND.
  13. This was one of the coolest parts of the day. Our director had a private discussion with Mick Jagger, who also joked with us, told us we were great, and filmed us for his Instagram!
    Me on Mick's Instagram
  14. Then they paid us $30 and set us free to get ready and eat stadium food.
    This is me and my friend Katelyn all dolled up to sing in front of 60,000 people!!!
  15. The concert started, and we watched he first half or so from the press box.
    AWOLNATION were the opener. They were terrible.
  16. I was amazed by how long they played (three hours!!!) and how much energy 71-year-old Mick had!!!!!
    He is still a very impressive performer 💕
  17. Then finally IT WAS TIME FOR US TO GO TO THE STAGE.
  18. So we got our monitors
  19. And climbed up the stairs to the backstage area
    I almost fell and died because the steps were like grate material and I'm horrible at walking in heels.
  20. Waiting in the wings was surreal. Not only were we backstage at a massive stadium show of one of the most popular bands of all time, but we had their vocals feeding directly into our ears. At one point Keith Richards ran behind a set piece for a quick wardrobe change and he looked/pointed directly at us and gave us a huge thumbs up of encouragement
    He's a nice guy.
  21. Then their set was over, they left the stage and IT WAS TIME FOR US TO GO ON.
    We were the first number of the encore, remember, so the lights went down and the crowd started doing their "please come back" thing. One cool thing was that when we, the choir, started to file on in the dark, the people close enough to see started getting louder because they knew what was about to happen.
  22. Then our monitors gave us our pitches, we got four metronome clicks, the lights came up and WE WERE SINGING IN FRONT OF 60,000 PEOPLE.
    I definitely blacked out for part of this experience but luckily it is a very long song so I was able to calm down enough to really take in the moment and even reflect on it a bit.
  23. I've been a performer my whole life. I'm constantly chasing the thrill of being onstage, sharing art I can be proud of with friends and strangers. But NOTHING compared to that moment, having the chance to be a part of legendary music that means so much to so many.
    This is why people like the Stones, Paul McCartney, and Brian Wilson are STILL out there performing. It's a special kind of love that your heart can't make any other way.
  24. You can't tell at all, but that's my face on a 70-foot screen (I have no actual concept of size). And if you're REALLY curious, here's a video. https://youtu.be/1K7Fx-uXGo0 You can't see me or anything but I swear there's a moment when I can hear my plunky alto 2 pipes not blending at all.