On April 26, the high school rock band, comprised of 25 students ranging from Grade 9 to 12, played three half-hour sets at the MineSET Mine Technologies and Career Opportunities Forum at the Walden Arena in Sudbury.
Norm McIntosh, who has directed the band for the past 28 years, said he was approached by SHOWPRO, a Sudbury-based event management company, to play at the event.
“The organizer of MineSET, Tom Hewlett, thought it would be a good fit, because of course we hold the record for the deepest concert.”
Almost exactly a year earlier, on April 27, 2007, the band broke a Guinness world record for the deepest concert ever when band members played at the 3,400-foot level at Vale Inco’s Copper Cliff North Mine.
McIntosh said he’d always thought it would be cool for the band to break a world record, and when he realized the previous record for the deepest concert was only at 340 metres, he knew they could definitely break it.
“It took about a year and a half for us to pull it off. We kind of got caught when Inco was sold to CVRD, so there were brand new owners, and we had to start all over again,” he said.
Those under the age of 18 aren’t normally allowed underground, so Vale Inco had to break its own rules to allow the record attempt to go ahead, said McIntosh.
“The miners were just wonderful. They loved it. What I found out was that miners are very proud of their mine. They were just tickled pink.”
With all of this recent exposure to mining, a few of McIntosh’s band students are considering entering the mining field themselves.
Grade 12 tenor saxophone player Nathan Simpson said he’s always wanted to become a mechanic because he has two uncles in the profession, and he’s grown up tinkering with engines.
But thanks to his mining-related experiences in the past year, as well as the influence of his girlfriend’s heavy equipment mechanic father, he’s considering becoming a heavy equipment mechanic himself at a mine or mining supply or service company.
“When we went down in the mine, I kind of looked around the garage and everything. It was amazing. It’s pretty cool that we’re playing here today as well.”