Sunday, February 28, 2010

Celtic Woman & PS22 Chorus at Radio City Music Hall!

Last night, the PS22 Chorus of 2010 saw the culmination of their hard work this week preparing for and with Celtic Woman for the absolutely brilliant show that took place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City! The kids helped to bring the house down, joining the group on two fantastic renditions of Celtic Woman's most beloved songs: "You Raise Me Up" and "Spanish Lady."

The experience was so much more than the music -- just being in each other's presence and making such a strong connection of the heart... We'll never forget it. It was a glorious night of fun and music, and it's safe to say that nobody left that theater with anything but a huge grin from ear to ear! (Though admittedly, I can't seem to get through the video of "You Raise Me Up" without welling up a bit.) Celtic Woman, their entourage, and their fans have all completely embraced PS22 and have helped make this collaboration that much more special and memorable. We thank you all!

And today the PS22 Chorus got an e-mail from Lisa Kelly, who writes:

Hi Guys,

Hope you got to have some rest after your very exciting night! I think I got to say goodbye to all of you. But if I didn't I'm sorry and again just want to tell you how amazing I think all of you are. You did an incredible job and should be so very proud of yourselves.

Keep up your singing and listen to Mr Greg!!! It's so cool to do what you do.
Be safe and stay in touch

Love always
Lisa xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

UPDATE 2-28-10: Check out two beautiful blog posts from Celtic Woman's Lisa and Mairead about their time with PS22.

Celtic Woman tweeted this morning about the show with a beautiful shout out to PS22 included. Check it out below.

Big thanks to Ms. Lisa & Mrs. Panzella for capturing the incredible moments last night with these beautiful videos and pics that the kids will always have to inspire and help them remember that dreams do come true! And last night was proof positive.

Now enjoy some more pics!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Let's Hear It For NY1!!

Pic by Scott Vollweiler

Check it out! NY1 has put online some awesome new footage of our rehearsal with Celtic Woman on Thursday (which includes a little sneak peek of the 2 songs you can expect tonight from Celtic Woman with the PS22 Chorus at Radio City Music Hall)! Here is the link.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Celtic Woman Arrives At PS22!

Pic by Scott Vollweiler

Yesterday the kids got a visit from Celtic Woman and company, and I doubt anyone involved had any idea just how inspiring a day it would be for all involved. The most memorable moments in life are those where you get more than you bargain for, and making music together was just this euphoric energizing experience that we'll all never forget. Everyone left the "rehearsal" (quotes because it was more unabashed mutual appreciation than work!) smiling and in great spirits! If we weren't before (and we were), it's safe to say we're all completely looking forward to the climax of this amazing collaboration at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday night! Though the song below will not be included in the set at Radio City, here's a taste of what's to come:

Not only did we rehearse the numbers we are doing for Radio City, we also invited Celtic Woman in on one of this year's group's biggest internet smashes, "Empire State of Mind PT. XXII!" The ladies mixed right in with the group and certainly earned themselves the title of honorary New Yorkers after this performance:

In between singing, Celtic Woman took every advantage of this opportunity to get to know the kids. They were wonderful, no airs at all, and just fell right into the mix and mayhem! It was such a great thing to see everyone come together so naturally. Ashley R. even got to play Mairead's fiddle!

It was an honor to sing with Celtic Woman and it was wonderful to hear from them that they felt the same way about singing with PS22.

You can read a great article about the Celtic Woman/PS22 Chorus collaboration over at In the article, vocalist Lisa Kelly says, "The raw passion these young children sing with and the enthusiasm and obvious connection their choral director had with his students was inspiring to us..." Read the entire article here. In addition, Celtic Woman had some more kind words about their experience at PS22 on their Twitter page!

Thanks to Ms. Lisa & Mrs. Johnson (and Scott Vollweiler where indicated!) for the great video and pics! Here are some more....

Pic by Scott Vollheimer

Pic by Scott Vollheimer

Monday, February 22, 2010


Very excited to announce that the PS22 Chorus of 2010 will be performing with the international sensation CELTIC WOMAN this Saturday at Radio City Music Hall! The kids will be singing two songs with this incredibly talented group, and will "mark the first time Celtic Woman has shared their concert stage with a local choir in the US!" We're honored to be the ones to help break that proverbial ice!

You may recall the PS22 Chorus has indeed already shared a stage with Celtic Woman back in December at the National Tree Lighting Ceremony, but this time they'll be performing all together! Below is from the official press release:

Irish Music phenomenon, Celtic Woman, has launched their brand new “Songs From the Heart” concert tour in support of their recently released CD/DVD of the same name.

The 75 city journey will bring the group to Radio City Music Hall for two nights, February 26 and 27. To celebrate the Irish group’s triumphant return to New York City, Staten Island’s P.S. 22 Chorus will join Celtic Woman for two songs on Saturday, February 27th, marking the first time the group has shared their concert stage with a local choir in the U.S.

Under the direction of Gregg Breinberg, the Staten Island P.S. 22 Chorus became a YouTube viral sensation that New York Magazine called “the best-known elementary-school chorus on the planet.” The 5th graders are renowned for singing moving choral adaptations of classic and modern pop-songs. Despite the fact that PS22 is not a magnet school for the arts, the group has been prominently featured on national television and has been instrumental in inspiring at-risk students to succeed in all other areas of curriculum. The chorus has previously performed with Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Stevie Nicks.

Celtic Woman has been winning over audiences of all ages and captivating millions with inspiring songs that move seamlessly between Irish classics, contemporary covers and original compositions. In just five short years, the group has released 5 CDs and 5 DVDS totaling more than 4 million in sales and performed for more than a million people. Their newest CD and DVD Songs From the Heart, (Manhattan Records) continues to ride high having reached #9 on Billboard Top 200 and #1 Billboard World Music Chart. Musical director David Downes beautifully captures the pure essence of Celtic Woman showcasing the celestial sounds of vocalists Lisa Kelly, Chloë Agnew, Lynn Hilary and Alex Sharpe along with the dynamic inventiveness of Celtic Violinist Máiréad Nesbitt.

As a testament to the group’s ability to cross musical and cultural boundaries, the group recently performed at the National Christmas Tree Lighting in Washington D.C and ABC’s Dancing With The Stars singing for millions of viewers while their PBS TV specials have dominated the broadcast airwaves.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Josh Groban Raises Us Up!

Thanks to Josh Groban for posting the PS22 Chorus of 2010's remarkable rendition of "Empire State Of Mind" by Jay-Z & Alicia Keys on his blog!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lightning Strikes Twice!

Congrats to the PS22 Chorus of 2008 for appearing on the second season of PBS's hit TV show, Electric Company! The video above has been added to our previous Electic Company page, where you can see quite a few other first-season videos that aired on the show featuring the PS22 Chorus kids! And check out some behind-the-scenes footage from the shoot below...

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Brighter Way for Haiti

Last week, PS22 Chorus of 2010 joined forces with some other choirs across the world to help contribute to a video project to raise money for Haiti Relief. All the choirs did a great job as you can see in the final product shown above. If you'd like to find out more about how to support the project and help out the people of Haiti, visit zyOzy Foundation's website. If you'd like to make a donation now, you can visit this link. And if you'd like to hear the PS22 Chorus version of Amy Wolff's song "A Brighter Way" in its entirety (which features some amazing soloing by Isaac & Karinna), check it out on the audio player below.

UPDATE: As of February 19th, $5,035 has been raised from this project!! Kids, you should be so proud!!

From the Press Release:


The zyOzy Foundation today announced the release of the Brighter Way Haiti Choir Project video across all social media outlets.

In January, Amy Carol Wolff, an Indiana University graduate student specializing in non-profit manangement, zyOzy collegiate advisory partner and song composer, issued a call to choirs in January to do an original video recording of her composition, "A Brighter Way," an inspirational, musical "call to action," which, as Wolff states, "is a powerful statement of rising up, serving and bringing hope to those who need it."

Wolff conceived the idea of a global choir initiative after family friends miraculously survived and escaped the deadly earthquake, which struck Haiti about a month ago. By a miracle they all were found alive.

Five choirs joined the movement, bringing hundreds of young people together for haiti. The choirs include Uganda Rural Fund Childrens' Choir, the Crescendo Chorus of Connecticut, the famed Voices of Eve 'n Angels -- the Voena Childrens' Choir of California, the Pacoima Singers of California, and the PS22 Chorus of Staten Island, NY.

With the help of Byron Campbell from Firelight media Group, all of the videos were put together to create a dynamic and inspiring media piece for the people of Haiti and those looking to continue to champion this country's recovery. You can vew the video on the Brighter Way haiti Choir Citizen Effect project page: , where they are accepting donations for CARE's Haiti Relief efforts on behalf of the project.

Wolff and the zyOzy Foundation team are looking to raise over $30,000 for CARE's relief effort in Haiti. "CARE has a long history of work in Haitiand their people are extremely focused on providing for basic needs," Dan Morrison, CEO of Citizen Effect, "they are committed to providing water, food and shelter for the people of Haiti."

For information on how to spread the word or contribute, visit the zyOzy website at or contact Wolff at

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I don't know if the PS22 Chorus has ever moved me as much as the kids do here, singing this hauntingly beautiful song by the extraordinary Sade called "Pearls." Brielle takes her vocals to new heights,and the entire chorus is simply mesmerizing. I literally cannot watch this without welling up. A new favorite.

UPDATE (2-13-10): Thanks to Ashton Kutcher for tweeting and linking to the PS22 Chorus version of "Pearls" on his Twitter page.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

One Day II

You may recall that the PS22 Chorus of 2009 scored big last year with a brilliant cover of Bjork's "One Day." Here is an equally brilliant version of another great song of the same name by reggae singer Matisyahu from our 2010-ers!! For sure it's one of their best. And congrats to Leah for nailing the solo!

UPDATE (2-11-10): Congrats to the chorus for scoring a YouTube Honor without any major celebrity assistance (as of yet!).

Saturday, February 06, 2010


As reported several months back, the PS22 Chorus of 2009 filmed several short songs for the VH1 DIVAS 2009 special that aired in September! Below are extended versions of the two songs that were included, and 3 extra never-before seen songs that were NOT featured on the broadcast! Most impressively, the kids learned all five of these songs on the day of the shoot! Big thanks to Chiho and everyone at the VH1 Save The Music Foundation for getting these performances to us! They certainly deserve to see the light of day.

For starters, here are the kids singing "Chasing Pavements" by Adele. This song did indeed air on the DIVAS special, and now here is an awesome extended version. Allie does the usual brilliant job we've come to expect from her!

And the other song that aired on DIVAS 2009 was "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis. Tirzah shows that she can do more than "just dance!"

Here is Samantha sounding better than ever on "Tattoo" by Jordin Sparks, who introduced the chorus at the White House Tree Lighting Ceremony just two months ago! Small world... ;) This song did not air on the broadcast, but certainly, as evidenced here, was no less worthy.

And always great to hear Elijah soloing! Here he is on a song that suited him perfectly -- Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway!"

And last, but certainly not least, is April, leading the chorus in a quite lovely version of "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus. April shows that she still "rules the world," and the chorus sounds beautiful as well.

Friday, February 05, 2010

A Breakthru Interview!

I had the pleasure of being interviewed last week by DJ Latola from Breakthru Radio, that specializes in independent music. Our conversation and some awesome original performances by the chorus and Justin (legendary soloist of 2007) is now up on Breathru's website. It makes for a highly enjoyable listen, despite (or because of!) some rather random questions... :)

Interview with DJ Latola on Breakthru Radio

Songs in the interview are:

1) "I Will Belong Where I am" -- performed by the PS22 Chorus of 2007 and written by Justin (Chorus of 2007) & Mr. B

2) "Follow Your People" -- an original improv by Justin & Mr. B (Justin invented his vocals and lyrics on the spot and as you hear it on the recording!)

3) "Sing Yourself" -- a song I wrote for the chorus to sing in 2002. It's one of those rare tunes that I tend to keep in the chorus's repertoire year to year.

4) "Chants" -- written by the 4th and 5th grade music classes & performed by the PS22 Chorus of 2004, you can find out more about the chants here.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Star Spangled Banner

A fantastic a cappella rendition of the United States of America's national anthem. The PS22 Chorus of 2010 adds its own magical touch to this incredibly difficult song to put over properly. I'm actually extremely proud of them on this one. And huge props to Albert for nailing those high notes!

Monday, February 01, 2010

15 Million Views!

Congrats to the chorus on over 15,000,000 viewings of its videos on the internet! Sick!!