Traditionally frequented by dog walkers and weekend cyclists, Fireman’s Park will soon play host to an upcoming historic event.
On Saturday, July 21, 1,000 amateur and professional musicians of all ages will descend on the Niagara Falls recreation area to perform a synchronized set of six classic hits.
Split evenly, 250 drummers, guitarists, bassists, and singers will all, in unison, rock out to a selection of songs by AC/DC, Tom Cochrane, Chilliwack, 54-40, Bryan Adams, and Neil Young.
The 1,000-strong band made up of variously skilled musicians will be captained by local conductor and musical director, Roger McLaughlin.
McLaughlin, a professor at Brock University, entered the music world at the age of 12 and has played in a number of local bands over the years, including the Shrubbers and Saints and Sinners.
Amidst the sea of strings and symbols will also be co-organizer and man behind the initial idea for the event, Paul Lemire.
“The logistics seemed insurmountable. We had to figure out a way to power 500 amplifiers for guitarists, hook up 50 to 80 microphones for singers, and have enough power for PA systems and mixing boards”, said Lemire. “We have overcome all obstacles with the help of the SCVFA, the City of Niagara Falls and many advisors and volunteers that want to see this event be a success”.
1,000 musicians playing the same rock song in sync was first successfully executed by a group of Italian performers in 2015. A handful of analogous productions have been staged in different places across Europe since.
A concert of this kind has never been attempted west of the Atlantic, however. The event, dubbed the Day of 1 000 Musicians, will be a North American first.
The daylong affair will also feature an assortment of other musical performances from regional bands, both before and after the 1 000 person set at 6pm.
The response from local musicians, according to Lemire, proves Niagara’s music scene is “alive and well”.
“We have specifically targeted those ‘garage musicians’ who have a love for music, but either don’t have the talent or the time to be professional.”
Doors open at 12pm on July 21, with closing ceremonies scheduled to conclude at 845pm.
Admission is free. Though, attendees are invited to bring non-perishable food items to donate to Project Share.
Any proceeds raised at the event will go directly to local charities, including music therapy programs.
A variety of vendors and food trucks will be on site throughout the day.
Paid and unpaid parking options will both be available. To help mitigate space restrictions, local residents are encouraged to be dropped off at the park.
Patrons will be permitted to bring their own chairs into the venue, as supplied seating will be limited.
In case of inclement weather, the concert will be pushed to July 22.
Organizers are still actively seeking musicians and volunteers for the event. Those interested in participating in the main performance or behind the scenes can contact John Fillion at (905) 988 3348 or Paul Lemire at (905) 353 7560.