Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Time goes too fast sometimes"

Leah & Zaire way back in first grade!

To My Amazing PS22 Chorus of 2010,

Only 2 days gone, and I miss you guys already. There are no words for just how proud you've made your school, community, country, planet, and certainly your friendly neighborhood chorus director throughout this unforgettable year! This year alone you won a Webby Award, you sang for Beyonce & Lady Gaga at the Billboard Women in Music Awards, You appeared on the Tyra Banks show, Oprah, and more than several nationwide broadcasts. You appeared in a documentary of the incredible band Phoenix! You had a whole bunch of viral videos, and got a cake made for you by Ace of Cakes! You performed with Celtic Woman, Common, Queen Latifah, Travis Garland, Matisyahu, Jarrod Gorbel, and even sang for the president of the United States! You've conquered the world in the most awesome way imaginable, through song. You taught people all over the true meaning of harmony, and with heart and humility, you've managed to wield your awesome power keeping true to yourselves. That was obvious by what you said in your farewell messages.

So to say I'm proud of you just doesn't seem to cut it. But let it be said it's been my honor to be your guide and ringmaster throughout this traveling circus of a year! I've had a blast with you guys, and it has enriched my life for having known each and every one of you. So I leave you with this lyric from, "Stay With Me," because it says it all. "I'm so grateful that I've known you."

Karinna at the 2004 Holiday Show!

Ashley & Gregorio in first grade!

And super huge thanks to Ms. Lisa, Mrs. Johnson, & Ms. Laurie for always being there unasked. You guys are the best and the chorus and I are so lucky to have you! All three of you always give so much of yourselves for no other reason than that's just the kind of people you are. The kids and I love you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Radio City HQ!! (Both performance updated!)

Check out these AWESOME high quality versions of "I'll Stand By You" and "Empire State of Mind Pt. XXII" from yesterday's performance at Radio City!

Monday, June 28, 2010

2010's Farewell Performance at Radio City Music Hall

What more appropriate place for the PS22 Chorus of 2010 to give its farewell performance of the school year than at the one and only Radio City Music Hall?! That's just where the kids sang their swan song(s) today, singing 2 songs for the National Conference of Volunteering and Service! The event was hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, and had many high profile types in attendance, such as Hank Azaria, Neil Bush (George W.'s brother who was nice enough to come downstairs to the kids' green room to tell them how much he enjoyed their performance!) and Mayor Michael Bloomberg among others.

The PS22 Chorus is introduced here by Al Roker, and sings "I'll Stand By You" by The Pretenders, which certainly is one of the songs this year's group will be remembered for...... The chorus did a fantastic job, and Brielle was perfect on the solo! This led way to the entrance of the mayor, who was sad that he wasn't invited to sing with PS22..... :(

Here the kids are singing one of their biggest viral hits this year, "Empire State of Mind Pt. XXII" by Jay-Z & Alicia Keys. They did an awesome job on it, and even got a second standing ovation! 2 for 2!! Dominique outdid herself, performing her solo to perfection, and Sarah did a phenomenal job on the rap, and she only found out this morning that she was covering for a missing Messale!

Thanks to Mrs Johnson and Ms. Laurie for the awesome vids and pics! More below!

On Stage

The Green Room

Sandy & Kayla

Neil Bush with the PS22 Chorus

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Stay With Me

At our last rehearsal before graduation, the PS22 Chorus of 2010 joined me on a rendition of a song I wrote called "Stay With Me." The lyrics really hit home for everybody that day, and it made for an emotional send-off. The song brought out the feelings of both pride and melancholy that all in the room were feeling with regard to saying goodbye to each other and an amazing year.

So many people ask me how hard it is when the kids leave after everything the group experiences together..... Answer: Yeah, very.

And lastly, sincere apologies to Mr. George in Wisconsin....

Friday, June 25, 2010

PS22 Chorus on CBS Early Show

This morning the PS22 Chorus of 2010 appeared on the nationally televised CBS Early Show as part of a Michael Jackson tribute, and featured an excerpt of the kids' version of "Man in the Mirror" by MJ, and more of the kids thoughts on the legendary performer. The video of the PS22 segment is below. And make sure you catch the absolutely amazing Newsweek footage that was released yesterday for a more personal and in depth look at the kids paying tribute to MJ....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Another Phoenix Vid Rises.....

Spotted this amazing new video from MTV Buzzworthy catching another glimpse at Phoenix's reaction to the PS22 Chorus version of their song "Lisztomania." The PS22 segment comes in at 1:00.

PS22 Chorus sings for Angelwish Foundation

Today the PS22 Chorus of 2010 visited the Scholastic bookstore in Manhattan to perform and purchase books for some kids in need on behalf of the Angelwish Foundation. The kids really made the most of the opportunity, and they took their task of finding books very seriously. Of course that's not to say fun wasn't to be had along the way, as you can plainly see.....

All in all, it was a very special day well-spent, as we approach the final days of an amazing school-year. Big thanks to Shimmy and everyone at Angelwish Foundation for hosting our visit! And thanks as always to Ms. Lisa & Mrs. Johnson for capturing the performance with fantastic video and pics, and to Ms. Laurie and Ms. Kaufman as well for sharing in the day and for all of their help! We love you guys!!!

PS22 Chorus's MJ Tribute for Newsweek

Thanks to Newsweek for the incredible job they did putting this video together! And make sure you catch the CBS Early Show tomorrow morning (Friday) for more of the kids reflections on Michael Jackson, and another exclusive performance of "Man in the Mirror."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Man in the Mirror

Here is the PS22 Chorus singing what is probably the most requested song of the year from both the kids and their fans -- "Man in the Mirror" by the late Michael Jackson. This performance was filmed at the kids' graduation ceremony today, and the kids definitely went out in style!! No doubt, it's going to be hard to say goodbye to this crew..... Fortunately we have a few more days before school ends, and there will be more vids to come from the kids of the amazing PS22 Chorus of 2010, before they turn over the reins to the up-and-coming 2011 group!

Make sure you catch the kids on Friday morning on the CBS Early Show -- they will be singing "Man in the Mirror" on the second hour of the broadcast as part of a tribute to MJ! And before that, you'll be able to catch yet another professionally filmed performance of the song on Newsweek's website tomorrow morning! On both appearances, you will also hear the kids talking about how they were affected by both Michael's life and death. It's very moving stuff, so stay tuned!!

UPDATE: Thanks to Perez Hilton for posting this performance with his usual kind words for the PS22 kids!

UPDATE 2 (6-24-10): The video has earned some amazing YouTube honors. Check 'em out below!

Awesome PS22 Interview on a new Alicia Keys Website

Check out this very cool article/interview by Alexis Tirado who writes for a new Alicia Keys website. I spoke with Alexis yesterday, and we at PS22 wish her all the luck at earning the spot as head-blogger for the new site! (The winner will be announced live on Good Morning America on Friday morning.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Behind-The-Scenes At The Webbys!

Photo from Webby Awards Flickr

On Monday, the PS22 Chorus was named Artist of The Year at the 14th Annual Webby Awards at Cipriani's in Manhattan. It was a star-studded ceremony and the kids completely stole the show! Below is an awesome behind-the-scenes video that features the following:

1) The PS22 Chorus sing "Closer" by Ne-Yo (in above photo) at soundcheck.
2) The kids meet Ne-Yo and freak out....
3) The kids perform the customary 5 word acceptance speech at the ceremony.
("Five Words? Okay. Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcaniconiosis. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!")
4) The kids get some great messages from Buzz Aldrin, Jason Bateman, Amy Poehler, Lisa Kudrow, Isabella Rossellini, Ben Folds, & B.J. Novak!

For professionally filmed videos of PS22 Chorus from the Webby Awards, click here. Thanks to Ms. Lisa for filming the performances in the above video, and to Victor Breinberg, Mrs. Johnson, & Ms. Massimo for the fantastic pics below!

Isaiah & Neil accept the Webby

The Sopranos

The Altos

The kids pose with Ne-Yo

The kids hang with Ne-Yo

Ashley R. has a Ne-Yo freakout....

Buzz Aldrin leaves PS22 Chorus a message. (Ariana Huffinton in the background)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

PS22 Chorus on CBS News!

On Tuesday, the PS22 Chorus was visited by CBS News correspondent Cindy Hsu, who came to get the inside scoop on our recent Webby Award. She spoke with Miguelito, Ethan, Leah, Clarissa, and Julian, who also gave her a little taste of Ne-yo's "Closer," which the chorus sang Monday night at the Webbys. The PS22 Chorus segment appeared on both the evening news on Tuesday, and the following morning. Although the spot that appeared on the evening news has more footage of the kids speaking, I love the amazing reaction of the anchors on the shorter version. You can check out Cindy Hsu's write-up of her visit at, and the videos below!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

PS22 Chorus on Germany's Detektor.FM

Yesterday, chorus member Leah and I had the pleasure of speaking with our new friends from German radio's Detektor.FM! The interview is available for download on their site, as well as a brief article (in German) about the PS22 Chorus. If you just want to take a listen, click play on the media player below.


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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

PS22 Chorus at The Webby Awards!

Yesterday, the PS22 Chorus accepted its Webby Special Achievement Award as Artist of The Year! The ceremony was held at Cipriani Wall Street in Manhattan, and was hosted by B.J. Novak of The Office. (It was beyond cool to hear him say that the cast of the show sits down to PS22 Chorus videos!) R&B icon Ne-Yo presented the chorus their award as you can see from his introduction here.

Then the kids took the stage to receive one of the few standing ovations of the evening! And certainly for this performance of Ne-Yo's "Closer," as you will see below, it is well-deserved, especially when considering they learned the arrangement only one school day before the ceremony. Major props to Leah, who does a stunningly beautiful job on the solo!

The cardinal rule of Webby Award acceptance speeches is that they must be only 5 words. PS22 decided to make the most of 'em! Awesome job by Neil & Isaiah setting up the laugh! And props to the chorus for just being able to spit out pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcaniconiosis.....

The kids also participated in We Shot The Webbys, and were interviewed by one of the attendees in their green room.

It was such an incredible honor to be performing and receiving the Webby Award before such an elite group, which included Isabella Rosellini, Buzz Aldrin, Jimmy Fallon, Ben Folds, Jason Bateman, and Amy Poehler, who even included PS22 in her acceptance speech!

More to come from this unbelievable night coming soon, including some amazing messages to the kids from some rather impressive PS22 Chorus fans!! Stay tuned!

Friday, June 11, 2010

I'll Stand By You

There are some days that the chorus just gets me, and today those kids got me good. This is one of the most beautiful accomplishments in PS22 Chorus history -- from the genuine heartfelt performance of the kids, to the precision of harmonies, to Brielle's beautiful soloing. Today I am an extremely proud music teacher.....

The song is "I'll Stand By You," originally by The Pretenders, and written by Chrissy Hynde, Tom Kelly & Billy Steinberg. I'm not sure it's ever been more potent than it is as presented here by our favorite ten year olds.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

New York Times Congratulates PS22!

Check out this awesome blog post from the New York Times congratulating the kids on their Webby award!

Let Your Love Grow Tall

Last year, the PS22 Chorus had the amazing opportunity to sing back-up vocals on MANNERS, the incredible debut full length album by indie-rockers Passion Pit! The album turned out to be one of the most critically acclaimed debuts of the year, and the PS22 Chorus were featured on three different tracks on the album, including this awesome feel-good song, "Let Your Love Grow Tall." (The other tracks that feature that feature the kids are "Little Secrets" & "The Reeling")

Karinna & the chorus bring the song to new "heights," so to speak! And it's been a long time since I've said this publicly, but...... BRUCE ROCKS!

PS22 wins a Webby!!!

Ok, this is HUGE! Today it was officially announced that the PS22 Chorus won a highly coveted Special Achievement Webby Award as ARTIST OF THE YEAR! For those unfamiliar with the Webbys, let's put it this way -- the music industry has The Grammies, the movie industry has The Oscars, and the internet.... has The Webbies!! Just to give you an idea of how prestigious an award this really is, previous winners in our category include Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails),, and The Beastie Boys! We are unbelievable proud, honored, humbled, and grateful for this incredible acknowledgement! Find out more about the Webby Awards by following the link. For the official press release announcing PS22's win, click here.

And stay tuned for more, as the chorus will be onhand at the ceremony to accept their award AND perform one of their selections!!

PS22 in der Spiegel!

Today the PS22 Chorus appeared in Spiegel, one of the biggest media publications in Europe, with (according to Wikipedia) over 1,000,000 readers in Europe. The article is now online, and can be viewed on their website, Love all the world-wide recognition for our kids!! Translation anyone??

UPDATE: Huge thanks to Florian for the thorough translation! You can check it out in the comments.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake....

On Wednesday, the PS22 Chorus got the "sweetest" surprise ever -- a visit and a cake from Duff and the gang from Charm City Cakes, as featured on the FOOD Network show ACE OF CAKES! The episode with the chorus will be airing within the next few months. The kids put together a few Mr. B originals (to avoid licensing issues for the broadcast) for the festivities, and this song is "African Lion." After the song, check out some highlights of the visit, and be prepared to see the coolest, most magnificent cake ever!!

It was so wonderful and genuinely flattering to see how the entire Charm City crew was just as happy to see the kids as they were to see them! They were completely cool and down to earth! At one point, Duff was even sitting on the floor with the kids showing them pictures of some of his cakes! And the kids were duly blown away by his handiwork!

All of our thanks to everyone at Charm City, particularly Duff, Ben, and Anna for designing this work of art! Big thanks also go to Victor Breinberg, Ms. Lisa and Mrs. Johnson for the great pics and video on this post! More pics below!

Ace Of Cakes Crew arrive at PS22

Duff meets the PS22 Chorus

Avery displays our edible Grammy!

Messale & Anasthasia can't believe their eyes

Neither can the rest of us!

Mr. B meets his Mini-me

Mrs. B, Mr. B, Duff, & Mrs. Johnson

Cutting the cake (Had mixed feelings about that!)

Duff gets some return on his investment, courtesy of Jenna!

Ashley gets a mouthful

Ethan gets a whiff of Duff