Friday, January 08, 2010


Yesterday, PS22 was visited by the extraordinary college choir, Ithacappella! It's so hard to put into words just how special and mutually inspiring our afternoon actually was with these amazingly talented and amazingly cool gentlemen. But I think the videos below speak volumes.

Not surprisingly, already the "Fireflies" (by Owl City) video has garnered YouTube Honors, which you can check out in the screencap below. Two Top 40 categories!!

Some of the members of Ithacappella posted some of their reflections of the day on their Tumblr page.. After reading their comments, to quote Owl City, "I got misty eyes...." For example:

DAVE G: "We go to these schools hoping to change lives, and sometimes we have OUR lives changed as well, and today was an example of that. These kids can be summed up in one response to a question. They asked us how many people we’ve met through the group, and we asked them who they’ve met. They answered “We sang for beyonce, lady gaga, obama, mayor bloomberg’ and just when you thought the answer of of an other celebrity would come up, we heard ‘And we sang for the senior citizens!’ These kids sing for the love of music, they feel it in ways I haven’t seen from any musician… ever, and they aren’t even jaded by their incredible talent, success and popularity. Their love and joy are infectious, and their performances were life-changing. Mr. Breinberg was my hero before going there, just from seeing videos on youtube and such, but this has just been so inspiring for all of us. OH that reminds me. THESE KIDS ASKED THE BEST QUESTIONS EVER. One of them asked ‘What inspires you?’ THEY’RE IN 5TH GRADE"

HARRY: "Needless to say, I was struck by the depth with which these kids understood the music they sang. We go to other elementary schools, and we get questions like “do you like dogs?” At P.S. 22 we were asked “What inspires you to sing?” Looking at the faces on these kids as they went through some of their rep was like any music educator’s pipe-dream. The surreality of it all left us deeply reflective, and I’ve decided the profound beauty of it all came from student empowerment.

"These students were making statements with what they sang, an art that every college-age musician tries to master (many with far less success). The strength that music gives comes from this very act, and such is it’s value in education. When students switch from the passive role of the traditional student-teacher dichotomy— being talked at for six hours and subverted with the mundane— to the active role of participant, that’s where I find the value in education. Thanks so much to Mr. Breinberg and PS22 chorus for making this inspiring trip possible."

ROB: "The chorus itself was indescribably cool. I’m sure you’ll hear more from other guys, but I mean it when I say that their rendition of Beyonce’s “Halo” was one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen. The depth of emotion that the kids were able to communicate with their faces and voices went well beyond their years and touched me in a way I’ve never experienced. Truly amazing.

"As someone who is interested in getting into the business of music, working with these young people gave me some much needed perspective. So much of the industry is focused on image, glamour, money, and fame. Here in the midst of the flashing lights are these kids. They’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the biggest names in the business (we were told by one student that Lady Gaga smells like a “fruit medley”), yet as Dave mentioned in his post they still list performing for the elderly and the town council as some of their most exciting moments.

"There is no ego in what they do, just joy. It’s the joy of making music as a way to communicate things that go beyond words. It’s the joy of creating friendships and a community based on making something beautiful together as a group. For one afternoon we had the privilege of being welcomed into that community, and we walked away with a whole new way of thinking about who we are and the music we make.

"To PS22 and Mr. B - Thank you! I think I speak for all of us when I say we learned lessons from you that years of school could never convey. I wish you guys many more years of fun and success. As you get older, never be afraid to keep expressing yourself through song. You guys have an incredible gift, and you never know who’s life you might change! Hope to see you again soon!"

JOHNNY: "When talking with Mr. B at the pizza place (Zio Nino’s by the way…) he told us that one of the things he focuses on when teaching songs to the kids is the emotion behind the text. Sometimes when listening to pop songs you forget that there is real meaning behind the words. What Mr. B wants is for the audience to press a “mute button” for the chorus’s sound, and still understand what emotion they are trying to portray. They absolutely succeeded, as they always do. When you see them on Youtube performing with huge energy and soul you think its great, but it’s nothing like seeing them perform live. Watching them do “Halo” by Beyonce was mind-blowing. The soloist was phenomenal and each and every student was emoting more than our group ever has."

And we'll leave off with a portion of my message to Ithacappella:

MR. B: "Completely overwhelmed over here! Today's was probably just the most pure fun musical collaboration we ever had, and I mean that. So so cool. I think the chorus looked to Ithacappella like big brothers! It was touching and inspiring to experience what I felt was like the grown up version of what we do. It was a completely reinvigorating day for me, much more so than I anticipated. Personally speaking, I really needed today."


Jessica said...

Mr. B: Your chorus deserves every accolade bestowed upon them. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

whoooooooooooooooooo even watching the gets my energy up

Anonymous said...


melle said...

I just discovered that you are keeping a blog - that's great!
So love the Ithaca visit - as always, thanks so much for sharing!
Fan in FL - Melle

Rike said...

Dear Mr.B, I'm (again) in awe and completely thrilled by the singing of the kids. Please give Alicea a solo again :)
Your Fan from Germany, Rike :)

Anonymous said...

Always better and better!!

E. from Italy

Anonymous said...

That was so good !!!!!
Continuez comme ca les gars !!!
Wir wertrauen euch !!!


Unknown said...

for me,that was the funnest day of my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!