Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I suppose it is possible that you haven't heard of the PS22 Chorus. They are a YouTube sensation. They've been featured on VH1, MTV, NPR, and various news organizations. Perez Hilton helped shoot them to fame when he took notice of them and started posting their videos on his blog. They do covers of Tori Amos, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, and more. The chorus director is, from what I see on the videos and interviews, an amazing man. He is really opening the eyes of these kids to something powerful inside themselves- something they might not have an opportunity to see with him, without music, without the chorus. 2009 was a big year for the fifth graders in the chorus. Lots of attention from the media, news outlets, stars. Appearances on the new Electric Company, providing vocals for Passion Pit. Those kids have moved on to 6th grade and a new chorus is filling the seats. After just a week of school, the chorus was visited by VH1 and some of the cast of the new movie Fame. It reminds me of my recent post, Kid-spiration. The chorus director teaches the kids to feel the music. To hear the words and feel them. To hear the music and feel it. And to let that feeling come out when you sing it. And if that means moving around, move around! I also love that he has started to share bits of interaction with the kids- asking them what they thought of singing with a Fame cast member, talking about the upcoming year. This man is so positive and full of energy. I know this is just one chorus getting a lot of attention. But I hope that the attention that the PS22 Chorus receives does more than empower these specific young people... that this movement does more than put director Gregg Brainberg in the spotlight... my hope is that the excitement over this specific school, this specific chorus will bring more attention to the importance of strong arts programs in our schools. Gregg's position with the school was in peril. The funds weren't there to keep him in the position he was in and while his employment didn't necessarily face peril, the existence of the Chorus did. So if you need a little hope, inspiration, joy... go spend some time with the PS22 Chorus. You won't regret it!