Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Got PS22?

Live from Staten Island, New York, the PS22 Chorus is not your typical 5th grade public elementary school choir. These kids have risen to worldwide fame not only through their teacher, "Mr. B"'s, blog. There have been over 2,450,000 views of PS22 performances on YouTube. You can also catch them on episodes of the latest season of Electric Company, airing on PBS!

I first found out about PS22 from some friends on a Tori Amos forum. Being a huge fan, I was intrigued to learn that a group of young students were performing covers of her complex songs. With the help of Undented, the PS22 of 2007 received a once in a lifetime offer from Sony Music -- to sing with Tori!

The student stars brought piano prodigy, Amos, to tears with their performance of her song Dragon, above, which now has over 152,000 views on YouTube.

"They were so good! Their arrangements -- their sound -- it was so good... It was... disarming. It means so much that they took it and made it their own." - Tori Amos

PS22 have also sung with Judy Torres, and were recipients of a special invitation from Academy Award-winner, Marcia Gay Harden, to perform at her home. Apart from Tori they have covered Regina Spektor, Bjork, Madonna, Keane, and Coldplay, among others.

Since 2000, Gregg Breinberg has been teaching P.S. 22 5th graders vocal techniques that allow them to cover a wide range of contemporary repertoire. He accompanies on piano and guitar to structure covers for the chorus in such a way that projects creative ability, and captures emotion. It is refreshing to know that Mr. B not only understands the importance of arts in education at a regular public school, but has brought his kids to the attention of supporters worldwide. With smiles all around, faces lit up, and their hands on their hearts, it is simple to be swept into their sound.

Perez Hilton certainly agrees for he has featured the PS22 chorus a few times on his celebrity blog. It is exciting to note that the chorus has recently been covered by mainstream news sources such as The New York Times and The Guardian.

P.S. Speaking of gaining momentum, the latest news is that the chorus, pictured above with Coldplay management, has the possibility of being signed for a record deal. I'll be staying tuned, for sure!

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