by Scott Vollweiler
The world’s most popular school chorus is hitting Washington DC this weekend for the Presidential Inauguration. Staten Island’s PS 22 Chorus was invited by New York Senator, Chuck Schumer. Gregg “Mr. B” Breinberg and I chatted through text late Thursday night about the opportunity.
“The Senator came to the school back in September to give the good news to the kids and make the formal invitation,” Breinberg told me. “One of the kids, Vanecia, made a short speech off the cuff exclaiming how happy she was and that she felt like PS22 are ‘the chosen’ ones. It was a really adorable moment,” he added.
As you could image, singing for the 250,000 people that will be in attendance is surreal. “All of the kids are beyond stoked to make the trek down to Washington DC,” Mr. B explained. “You can equate it to the excitement that the 2011 chorus had when they made the trip out to Hollywood for the Oscars.”
Remember, the chorus, which is comprised of about 65 fifth graders, has a new set of singers every year. This group has already sang and been invited to sing for Carrie Underwood at her Newark, NJ performance, Scott Stapp and Jerrod Neimann at the school, American Idol’s Phillip Phillips Hurricane Sandy relief performance through Stageit.com, and most recently, the troupe sang for Anderson Cooper and Katie Couric at their respective television shows.
After many conversations about the set list for the inauguration, the chorus director and the inauguration committee finally came to an agreement. Their set will consist of “God Bless The USA” by Lee Greenwood, “Home” by Phillip Phillips, One Dream by Sarah McLachlan, and “On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons. “We let it be known from the get go that we would not be doing a traditional patriotic set,” Breinberg admitted. “When it came time to getting approval on the songs, the only song they initially accepted was ‘God Bless The USA’. I had to fight really, really hard to get them to allow the others.”
Here’s knowing that this year’s inauguration will be filled with some great voices.
The public inauguration will be January 21st because the typical 20th term start lands on a Sunday this year.
Check out the chorus singing “On Top of the World” by IMAGINE DRAGONS