Have you heard about the successful fifth grade chorus known as PS 22? If you have not, then you need to learn about the incredible accomplishments and success stories that are linked with 10 year old students and one teacher in Staten Island, New York.
This chorus is among the best in the nation…and, according to New York Magazine, they are the “best-known elementary chorus on the planet”. PS 22 has been featured on Good Morning America and Nightline. They performed at the Oscars and, most recently, have been invited to perform at the January, 2013 Presidential Inauguration.
The director, Gregg Breinberg, has been the motivating factor, since 2000, when it comes to bringing out the best in students who attend this public school. "These kids come from families who are having a tough time economically," he told the Los Angeles Times during a rehearsal. “They have a hard time expressing themselves with words, but through this choral experience, there's so much emotion there, both coming from them and the people watching them." Mr. B., as the students call him, has helped students discover their potentials through singing and music.
Whenever one listens to PS 22 sing, people may begin to hear new meanings in songs. It is important to realize that these students have sung with and for many different artists including Katy Perry, the day after the Oscars, Stevie Nicks, who personally visited the students at their school, and Tori Amos, who has worked with the chorus several times. Amos stated that their arrangements of her songs were “disarming” and that she appreciated they made her songs their own.
Gregg, in one interview, had stated that one should remember these are ten year old students who will not necessarily sing to perfection. He believes that sometimes adults do not give children credit whenever it comes to their level of understanding. He has realized, throughout the years as the choral director at the largest public school in Staten Island, that fifth graders have the capabilities of combining rhythm, notes, and especially…emotions.
If you need something to increase your positive thermometer, then you need to link to the PS 22 links below. Be sure to scroll down the entire PS22 website and discover just what fifth grade students can contribute to someone’s life.
Let PS 22 provide you with hope and encouragement whenever it comes to believing in the fact that students can move forward to reach their dreams and goals!
Be sure to write your thoughts after you experience PS22. Donna Hupe communicates with Mr. B. and will send your comments to his students and him!
(PS 22 new website…check out the various links to videos of their songs!)
(interview with Gregg and Father Dwyer, with the online magazine for spiritual seekers, “Busted Halo”)
Donna Hupe teaches ED 101 – Field Experience I and has been a Pre-Student Teacher/Student Teacher Supervisor at Saint Vincent College for the past five and a half years.