It’s hard to blame the band for trying. The Shuffle Demons wanted to wrangle one thousand saxophone players to perform, live, at Nathan Phillips Square on Canada Day—and they were this close to fulfilling their musical prophesy. Too bad they were short a couple (hundred) players.
Back in 2004, the Shuffle Demons helped Toronto break the Guinness World Record for “largest sax ensemble,” and just this year a group of Taiwanese musicians decided to challenge our record; much to the Demons’ dismay, the Taiwanese sax players actually succeeded. In honour of the Shuffle Demons’ twenty-fifth anniversary, the band (pictured at bottom above) decided to try again—this time, attempting to amass sax players in the quadruple digits.
As Torontoist’s own Andrew Louis remarked after the musicians concluded their (obviously) brassy version of “O Canada,” “there were more cameras than saxes.” And those who gathered at Nathan Phillips Square did not bear witness to the breaking of a new (or is that old?) record; only 789 musicians showed up. But what they did see was a group of revellers, flanked by saxes of all shapes and sizes, celebrating the birth of our nation—and the reunion of one of our city’s most iconic bands.
Photos by Andrew Louis/Torontoist.