On Stage with the Stones

Emory choir rocks with music legends
stones

DANNY KARNIK/GEORGIA TECH ATHLETICS

You can’t always get what you want. But if you happen to be the Emory University Concert Choir, you just might get satisfaction. 

The group received the invitation of a lifetime when they were asked to sing backup at the Rolling Stones concert on June 9 in Atlanta. Appearing before some fifty-five thousand fans at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium, a select group of Emory singers took the stage to perform the iconic choir sequence that launches the Stones’ classic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” one of two encore numbers that closed the sold-out show. 

As part of their 2015 “Zip Code” North American stadium tour, the Rolling Stones typically reach out to community choirs to provide vocal accompaniment on the song. 

Concert Choir Director Eric Nelson, professor of music and director of choral studies at Emory, says that an invitation to perform with the legendary rock-and-roll band arrived in March under a thick layer of confidentiality. 

Why Emory? Nelson says he likes to think “it’s because we have a reputation as being one of the finest choirs in this city. Emory has a long tradition of a really fine choral program, going all the way back to the 1940s.” 

For Concert Choir President Katie Boice 16C, a rising senior majoring in psychology and music, the experience was unforgettable. 

“Just knowing that you are part of this experience for the audience—seeing this massive crowd on their feet and screaming and just loving it,” she says. “It really made us feel that we were valued as artists.”

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