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Backstage with the Rolling Stones

Lead Summary
Mavis Fodness

A Luverne native was able to rub elbows recently with the legendary rock n’ roll band, The Rolling Stones.
Katrina (Vander Kooi) Wallmeyer, a 2000 graduate of Luverne High School, is director of development and communications for the choral music programming organization VocalEssence.
Wallmeyer has worked for VocalEssence, Minneapolis, for almost seven years.
Last month VocalEssence founder Philip Brunelle was contacted by the Rolling Stones organization, who wanted its 24-member choir to perform with the band at its one-night performance at TCF Bank Stadium on June 3.
The group joined lead singer Mick Jagger and band members Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood in a performance of “You can’t Always Get What You Want.”
The eight-minute performance ended with a gospel flourish.
“They sounded heavenly, and every inch of me was beaming with pride,” Wallmeyer said, reflecting on the performance last week. “The energy from the audience was palpable. They were cheering on the hometown choir.”
Wallmeyer was able to watch from backstage, and she said she still describes the experience as “amazing.”
She was waiting with VocalEssence performers and was able to meet Jagger as he performed a sound check. With her was founder and director Brunelle, who told Jagger the two have July 1943 birth dates.
“Really,” is what Jagger replied, Wallmeyer said.
 Jagger performed “Sympathy for the Devil,” prior to the choir’s performance.
“All that I could see from stage left was Mick Jagger surrounded by thick red fog. When the fog cleared, I saw a sea of thousands,” Wallmeyer said. “It’s a moment that I will never forget.”
After performing in front of the crowd estimated at 50,000, Wallmeyer said Jagger told audience members “Thank you. You sing magnificently,” as the choir exited from the stage.
“One of the things that I have enjoyed about this is spending more time listening to their music,” Wallmeyer said.
“I didn't realize how much of it I knew and enjoyed.”
A recording of the VocalEssence performance with the Rolling Stones can be viewed on the website
Wallmeyer is the daughter of Deb and Ben Vander Kooi, Luverne.

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