GCVI choir to perform with award-winning rock bands

TORONTO – Wellington County students are set to sing in front of packed audiences on two of Toronto’s 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 Toronto’s big stages. Moreau lives in Erin, Avdoulos in Fergus, and Gouthro in Elora. 

There are about 65 students in GCVI’s 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 Hall’s capacity of almost 3,000 is intimate compared with Budweiser Stage, the arts theatre is known internationally for its acoustics and history. 

“Massey Hall is such an iconic venue,” 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 – 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 weren’t familiar with Foreigner (which formed in 1976) or Wilco (1994), but they’re thrilled to sing at such famous venues, where some have seen their favorite artists perform. 

It’s their parents who are most excited about the bands they’ll be on stage with, Osborne said.

Moreau grew up listening to Wilco as her parents are big fans – 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 they’ll sing along with Foreigner to their power ballad and biggest hit I Want to Know What Love Is. 

“We are on cloud nine,” 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. They’ve 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. 

“I’m really looking forward to being back at Massey Hall,” Avdoulos said. 

During last year’s performance she said it felt “really neat to see all those people and sing for them.” 

Gouthro said the first time playing at Massey Hall was “terrifying.”

“It’s different from a school stage with 100 to 200 people you know – a big stage with thousands of people you don’t know,” she said. 

But singing in a choir isn’t like singing alone, she added, as she’s surrounded by peers. 

For Moreau, singing on stage feels exhilarating. It motivates her to give her absolute best performance, and “it’s so awesome to see all the hard work you’ve put in,” 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 it’s a good lesson in musical empathy, as the choir won’t be at the forefront, but will work to complement and enhance the band’s performances. 

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

“How awesome is it that people with these accolades are so supportive of kids’ choirs?” she asked. 

“It’s amazing that as a high school choir we get these opportunities,” Avdoulos said. “You don’t see a lot of high school students getting to play on stage with artists like this.” 

“It’s all because of Osbourne,” Moreau said, because she’s always emailing musicians and seeking out chances for the choir to get involved with different events. “We love Osborne. 

“You keep making it happen,” Moreau said, smiling widely at the teacher.