Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Freelance Whales Crank PS22 Chorus's Generator!

Here is yet another amazing collaboration featuring the PS22 Chorus! Yesterday the kids were visited by the Freelance Whales, and it was a match made in musical heaven. What truly great musicians and unbelievably generous souls... We at PS22 are MOST impressed! Check out the two songs the kids performed with the band -- "Hannah" & "Generator (First Floor)!"

Thanks to Ms. Lisa & Ms. Laurie for the beautiful vids and pics that accompany the post, Mr. Eberle for his amazing guitar work, and of course, major props to Marquis, accompanying the band on the drums (and improvising his part no less)!! Biggest thanks of course go to Freelance Whales and their management for coming on down to PS22 and giving us all an unforgettable afternoon of music and good cheer! More pics below!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Walk Like An Egyptian

Probably my favorite song (and certainly my favorite group) during my high school years, here is a great rendition of the song made popular by the Bangles (written by Liam Sternberg), "Walk Like An Egyptian," the #1 hit from the eighties! Recently, after the PS22 Chorus performed at The Oscars, we got a beautiful e-mail from Susanna Hoffs praising the kids' performance. We dedicate this to her. And the song seems more timely than ever....

UPDATE: In addition to our amazing supporter Perez Hilton tweeting about our newest cover, Susanna Hoffs, singer and guitarist from the Bangles, e-mailed a beautiful message! Here are some excerpts:


"it's so incredible---you are brilliant, and the kids are magnificent"

" just made my year :)"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Little Dragon sets PS22 on fire!

Last month we got an e-mail from the manager of one of my favorite bands, Little Dragon, who noticed that we included the group as one of our favorite artists on our YouTube channel. He asked if he thought there was any way the PS22 of 2011 could host a visit from Little Dragon. Needless to say, we jumped at the opportunity! Things have been so busy at PS22 that I didn't even have time to prepare the kids with any of the group's music until yesterday, the day Little Dragon was set to arrive! But leave it to PS22 to make the magic happen, even when they're down to the 11th hour!! Check out two amazing performances and some behind-the-scenes footage from the band accompanied by the extraordinary children of the PS22 Chorus in beautiful harmony!

Big thanks to Little Dragon and their management for such an inspirational visit, and we're even more ecstatic to hear they left PS22 feeling equally inspired by our favorite fifth graders and their time at PS22! Last but certainly not least, big thanks to Ms. Lisa & Ms. Laurie for the beautiful vids and pics on this post! Check out more pics below!!

Mohamed on hug patrol....
Ms. Lisa capturing the festivities.....
Yukimi Nagano
Erik Boden
PS22 Chorus & Little Dragon
Celebrating a job well done!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

PS22 Chorus vs. Madison Square Garden! (Spoiler alert: PS22 wins!)

On Friday, the PS22 Chorus of 2011 brought the house down at Madison Square Garden, opening the NY Rangers vs. Montreal Canadiens game with both the Canadian and American national anthems! The kids were in top form and brought the enthusiastic crowd into an almost unprecedented thunderous roar!! Check out the amazing performance below, as filmed by our wonderful Ms. Lisa!

The kids truly had a fantastic time at the Garden! Highlights?

1) Singing the anthems of course! You can check out pro-shot versions of both anthems below, courtesy of the Rangers website!

2) Watching the video the kids shot earlier that week for the Rangers (featuring team highlights set to PS22 Chorus's rendition of Eminem's "Not Afraid") on the jumbotron during intermission!

2) Meeting up again with our friend, former America's Next Top Model Finalist and current MSG personality, April Wilkner! The kids had a blast breaking out their Top Model poses with April, and April is just a spectacular and inspiring person!

3) Another definite highlight was meeting singer/actress Gloria Reuben, who specifically requested to meet the kids when she found it they were singing at the game! Gloria is truly an amazingly talented lady -- in addition to her role on ER, she is also a former backup singer for Tina Turner, so her praise truly did mean the world! As just reward for her kindness, she was treated to a superb a cappella rendition from Denise of an Aretha Franklin song we've been working on! (We "Think" you'll enjoy it.)

Thanks to Ms Laurie and again to Ms. Lisa for the beautiful pics you see on this post! More below!

The victory dance!
The two Top Models, Jay-La & April!
Mr. B on his tippy-toes... (April still has to crouch down!)

Denise dazzles Gloria Reuben!
The PS22 Chorus kids chillin' out in their VIP suite!

The Star Spangled Banner 2011

Check out this stunning rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner," the national anthem of the United States, from the PS22 Chorus of 2011!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Sorry for the lateness of this post (we've been a little busy), but PS22 Chorus fans have spoken and your most anticipated PS22 Chorus Oscar moment was the kids singing Over The Rainbow!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Guardian echoes Lady Gaga's Sentiments on PS22

A beautiful article written about the PS22 Chorus by Hermione Hoby for UK's prestigious publication, The Guardian.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

O Canada

The PS22 Chorus of 2011 do a spot-on a cappella rendition of the Canadian national anthem, "O Canada" in preparation for their upcoming Madison Square Garden performance at the NY Rangers vs. Montreal Canadiens game this Friday!

Thanks to Ms. Lisa for the beautiful HD filming!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Yesterday, the PS22 Chorus was hard at work for its upcoming March 18th Madison Square Garden performance of the Canadian and American national anthems at the upcoming NY Rangers game! We took a break from the necessary preparation involved to break out into a solo piano version of "True North" by Mr. B for our guest visitor from the UK's Guardian. The chorus was just breathtaking and Denise gave her best performance on this rendition. Also check out her amazing take on "Grenade" by Bruno Mars that we played around with at morning rehearsal.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Light The Fire

At rehearsal on Friday, the PS22 Chorus surprised a remarkably talented third grader named Dorian with a rendition of an impressive and cohesive song written by this young man which he calls, "Light the Fire." The chorus loved the song, and Dorian was pretty blown away himself to hear it brought to life by the PS22 Chorus! Beautiful job to Abigail on the solo, and congrats to our third grade prodigy, Dorian!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

"The PS22 Chorus Hollywood Fairytale" by Mr. B

Chapter I: The Departure

Once upon a time, there was an elementary school on the Island of Staten called PS22. It was a place filled with ordinary children endowed with an extraordinary power. Through the medium of song, these children would put their hearts on their sleeve, throw caution to the wind, and in beautiful harmony would sing their way into people's hearts. And indeed, they sang their way into the hearts of many. Through a magical thing dubbed (by the goddess Kylie) the "Intrawebular," the "many" became millions, and the PS22 Chorus slowly became known throughout the land for its unusual, but always resonant musical charms. It didn't take long before word of these young phenomena had spread to the royalty of a mystical land called Hollywood. On a cold December day, the beautiful Princess Anne Hathaway from that faraway place arrived at the school accompanied by one of the great kings, Bruce Cohen, and announced that the PS22 Chorus was being summoned to perform in Hollywood's highest court, The Kodak Theater, for a very special ceremonial ritual known as.... The Oscars! The kids were to sing the beautiful ancient ballad, "Over The Rainbow." And after two months of preparation (writing vocal arrangement, executing vocal arrangement, fitting it to score, etc.), they set off upon their journey.


Chapter II: The Arrival

When the PS22 Chorus arrived in the land of Hollywood, they were greeted by a large group of people known as the Paparazzi. Though often portrayed as hungry wolves out for the hunt, the Paparazzi surrounding the group were actually very polite and delighted by the PS22 Chorus, and used various image-capturing machines and devices to preserve their moment with the kids. The 10-year-olds smilingly made their way through the crowd, and were then taken by chariot to the the magnificent Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, where they settled in for a bit of food, drink, rest & relaxation -- before the adventure was really to begin.

Chapter III: The Rehearsal

Before long, the PS22 Chorus kids were whisked away to the Kodak Theater for a rehearsal. The children took the stage and practiced their rendition of "Over The Rainbow" that they were to sing at the ceremony. The few people who were fortunate enough to be in attendance and bore witness to the beautiful test-run performance were reduced to tears, and it did not take long before people realized magic was in the air. Princess Anne Hathaway, who was there to host the event with Prince James Franco, was overcome with emotion after hearing the children sing again, and could be seen wiping away tears before she and James ran on stage to greet the children.

Chapter IV: Fun With The Jester

As soon as they finished rehearsing, the chorus was joined on the Kodak stage by the Hollywood jester known as Jimmy Kimmel and even sang a song especially prepared for him to help open his own comedic show that would appear after the Oscars. Jester Jimmy wore a PS22 Chorus costume himself, and joined in on the shenanigans for a rollicking good time!

Chapter V: The Land Of Make Believe

After the long day of rehearsal, the PS22 Chorus kids took their well-earned night's rest at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel. The following day, they took a break from their hard work, and were escorted into the Land Of Make Believe, also known in some corners of the world as Disneyland! When the kids arrived, they took the stage in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle to perform several of their favorite songs in their repertoire to an appreciative crowd of onlookers.

After they warmed the hearts of all those in attendance, the kids got to play in the land of Disney. The kids were treated like royalty, ushered past the lengthy queues of citizens and pilgrims from afar to enjoy all the amusements the magical park had to offer. It was a fantastic day, and the kids (young and old) certainly were enchanted by the experience. The PS22 Chorus left feeling happier and more tightly bonded together by the fun times had by all!

Chapter VI: The Red Carpet

Before anyone could believe, the big day had arrived, and after a quick, last-minute rehearsal, the PS22 Chorus gathered at the Kodak Theater to make their way inside the Oscars festival! They walked an endless stream of Red Carpet, waving to the crowd who cheered them on for their big Hollywood debut! They stopped along the way to speak with our hometown friend, Robin Roberts, who was immediately put under the children's spell.

Chapter VII: PS22 Chorus Conquers Hollywood

After their proud promenade on the Red Carpet, hours flew like seconds, and before anyone knew it, it was time for the PS22 Chorus to take the stage at the Kodak Theater for its much anticipated performance! The kids showed absolutely no signs of nervousness or trepidation of any kind as the beautiful Princess Anne introduced them and they made their way to the stage. It was their moment, and what a moment they made for themselves! All of their hard work paid off, and the kids showed Hollywood and the world that they were truly a musical force to be reckoned with. Midway through the performance they were joined on stage by Hollywood's royalty, which made for what most people consider to be the most memorable moment of the evening's festivities! The PS22 Chorus received a magnificent standing ovation from the crowd, then went backstage to celebrate with ice cream and good cheer for a job well done! Afterwards, they were congratulated by yet more of Hollywood's elite, including Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Jeremy Renner, Tom Kane, Debra Lee Furness and one of the the kid's favorites, Wolverine!

Chapter VIII: The Empress of All Television & The Reigning Queen of Pop

The next day, the PS22 Chorus celebrated their successful conquering of Hollywood in a way that paralleled the excitement of the day before! They had been summoned by Oprah, the Empress of All Television, who was hosting her very own Oscars after-party! Flying in on her own magic carpet, the kids were joined on stage by the Queen of Pop, Katy Perry who performed one of her most beloved songs, "Firework," with the children. The kids received yet another thunderous standing ovation from the audience in the Kodak Theater, which left their Hollywood scorecard at 2 for 2! Afterwards, they had wonderful gifts of Samsung Galaxy Tabs bestowed upon them by the Empress! Backstage, the kids celebrated and were greeted warmly by the Empress, Queen Katy, her gallant husband Russell Brand, and Carson Kressley. (A definite personal highlight was meeting living legend, Eli Wallach -- he and his family were the kindest, most gracious people, and were thoroughly charmed by the kids!)

Even the most wonderful of stories must come to an end, and indeed, the following day, the kids at PS22 embarked upon their journey home. Throughout our Hollywood fairytale, there was stress, exhaustion, and a fair share of bumps in the road, but those moments seemed to be muted out by the amazing memories worth more than their weight in gold. As is the case with any good fairytale, there are always lessons to be found. Ultimately, the one that resounds just so happens to be the motto of the PS22 Chorus, "anything is possible" with hard work and dedication. These kids are most certainly the poster-children for this assertion. But perhaps even more importantly, our fairytale serves as a reminder to us all that friends, family, and the bonds we make with people are the most important gifts we can receive in life. Our happiest times in Hollywood were just spending time with each other, and meeting down-to-earthers like Anne Hathaway, Russell Brand, Robin Roberts... all those who truly appreciated the kids for what they are -- a reminder of everything hopeful and good in the world. Many would think it would be hard returning to the day-to-day drudge and toil after such an amazing experience, but ultimately, the PS22 Chorus found out there really is "no place like home."