Monday, March 29, 2010

Ashton Tweets "This Must Be The Place"

Thanks to Ashton Kutcher for always coming back to 22, this time spotlighting "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" by The Talking Heads on his Twitter page! This marks Ashton's 30th PS22 Chorus tweet! It's such an honor to know you're watching!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Catch The Wind

I got an e-mail the other day from a PS22 Chorus fan who just happened to use the expression "catch the wind" in the message. This of course immediately called up this song which I discovered back in college from the Scottish folk-singer Donovan Leitch. So yesterday at rehearsal I thought I'd see what the kids could do with it, and I must say, they made pretty quick work of this one! They learned it in one practice and in less than a half hour! It's amazing the power of a great song (and a great chorus)!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

AYO! (This Must Be The Place)

The title of this post affectionately refers to our very own Ayo (pictured above), whose name makes a cameo (sort of!) in this beautiful new rendition of "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" by The Talking Heads! Karinna, who gave a brilliant and memorable performance on "Run This Town," outdoes herself yet again here on the solo. What a job she and the PS22 Chorus of 2010 did on this one! Another astounding accomplishment, kiddos!

And here is an a cappella work of art corrupted by a giggle fit. Okay, so in my enthusiasm for leading, I hit my butt on the piano keys mid-song, immediately proceeded to smash my knee into the piano stool while trying to recover, then continued in an attempt to direct while in obvious agony. Evil children apparently find these things funny....

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Phoenix Sings The Praises of PS22 To The Guardian

The PS22 Chorus is appearing in tomorrow's edition (in fact it's already tomorrow across the Atlantic!) of the Guardian in an article about Phoenix, the group responsible for "Lisztomania." The band bestows some high praises for the chorus's version of their song, and it really was very rewarding to see what they had to say. Also, this marks the fourth time PS22 has found its way into the pages of The Guardian, one of the most influential newspapers in the world. Check out what they had to say about PS22 below, or see the full article on

PS22 Chorus in Entertainment Weekly!

Congrats to the PS22 Chorus of 2010 for appearing on Entertainment Weekly's MUST SEE LIST in the latest issue. It's the March 26th edition with Steve Carrell and Tina Fey on the cover. The kids are on page 8, and #7 on the list for their rendition of "Lisztomania" by Phoenix!

Glamour, Kylie, Ashton, & The Church All Love PS22!

The PS22 Chorus of 2010 has been getting some pretty impressive endorsements lately! This week alone, they appeared on Glamour's blog with a great review and link to the kids' rendition of "Lisztomania" by Phoenix! And yesterday, Aussie mega-star Kylie Minogue tweeted and linked to it as well!

Also tweeting about PS22 is our old faithful friend, Ashton Kutcher, who linked to the video of the chorus's most recent collaboration with Matisyahu!

And this one really made me happy to see! The kids' version of The Church's "Under The Milky Way" was found on the band's official website! Always great to see the chorus's covers get shown some love by the original artists! Thanks to the band and to all the above for helping support the PS22 Chorus!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Stay Awake

Here is the chorus performing "Stay Awake" from Mary Poppins. Though I'd seen the movie with Julie Andrews performing this, I really fell in love with the song upon hearing Suzanne Vega's version on the album STAY AWAKE, which featured contemporary artists covering songs from Disney movies. Since then I've heard it covered by The Innocence Mission and others, and I think the PS22 Chorus of 2010's version is right up there with the best of 'em. AND they only started learning it today!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hangin' with Matis! (Yahoooo!!)

pic credit: Barbara Koltun

The PS22 Chorus got a visit yesterday from Matisyahu, the incredible reggae singer, who also turns out to be a rather incredible person! He was awesome with the kids -- laid back and spontaneous -- just our style! Check out these two absolutely BRILLIANT videos that came out of our collaboration yesterday, before the kids had a chance to perform these same songs with him live to a sold out audience at the 92nd Street Y that same night!

And what a fantastic job Leah & Messale did on the solos!! Leah is a complete revelation on this version of "One Day" (the official song of this year's Winter Olympics)! I love the bridge she shares with Matis, especially with the newly added "wiyooooooooo"s!!

And after Messale told Matis he had really been listening lots to his song "On Nature"(which the chorus only learned 1 practice before Matis arrived!), he got an invitation to join in on the verses and bridges (with the words he knew). Yeah, we know Messale could rap from his amazing work on the PS22 version of "Empire State of Mind Pt XXII" but what a great singing voice he has too! When they performed these songs tonight at the 92nd Street Y, the crowd went nuts for Messale & Leah both! Congrats to them and to the chorus (and of course to Matis & guitarist Dave) for a brilliant job! The kids & Matis got a well-deserved standing ovation after their two songs together. We're hoping to get footage of those performances soon.

And of course, leave it to Ethan to get in his obligatory sniff -- even if Jenna was apparently a little freaked out by it all....

Thanks to Ms. Lisa, Mrs. Johnson, Ms. Laurie & Barbara Kolton for the incredible pics and vids you've seen so far! Thanks also to Scott Vollweiler from Broken Record Magazine for taking and sending on even more incredible shots that you can see below!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Kids Bring Down Da House at NY RANGERS Game in Madison Square Garden!!

Yesterday, the PS22 Chorus of 2010 sang the national anthem at The New York Rangers game in Madison Square Garden! The kids brought the crowd to an incredible roar of thunderous applause, as can be seen in the video below!

What an afternoon!! The usher outside our suite where we watched the game said in his 20 years working at MSG, he would place our rendition of the anthem in the Top 5 versions that he's heard! And Greg, our contact from the Rangers camp, e-mailed and said, "Believe me – I work every home game and tonight was the loudest applause I have ever heard at the Garden for an anthem. I truly hope we can make this an annual tradition. To top it off, you guys brought us luck during a team slump, as the Rangers got a big win!" AWESOME!!

After their incredible performance of the anthem, all the kids were ushered to 3 VIP suites, where they got to watch the game! While there, they were visited by former Rangers, Gilles Villemure & Pete Stemkowski, who signed autographs and spoke with the kids! Not only that, we ran into America's Next Top Model contestant, April Wilkner, who now works for MSG as a TV correspondent. She was as cool as can be, and a great sport, letting Ethan get in some more celebrity sniffing!

During a TV break during the second period of the game, they showed the video filmed by our new friend Faith that we filmed at school the other day of "Empire State Of Mind," which was spliced with highlights from the season! It was so great hearing the kids and seeing them on the jumbo-tron!

The kids all got hot dogs, chips, soda, balloons, and programs courtesy of the Rangers! Thanks to the team, Greg, & Faith, for all their incredible hospitality and for a day the PS22 Chorus will not soon forget!

And thanks to Ms. Lisa, Mrs. Johnson, Ms. Laurie, & Ms. Massimo, for capturing the day for us with all the great pics and video footage!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

An IDEAL Week!

This week, the PS22 Chorus of 2010 is on fire! Starting it off with a viral smash of "Lisztomania" by Phoenix, the kids have brought in a whole new bunch of fans from not only the States, but from countries like France, Brazil, Germany,and more! The chorus earned 2 Top 10 YouTube honors for the week and a whole slew of others, while making its homepage the #7 Most Viewed Music Channel this week! (That places it even higher than Beyonce's channel which currently weighs in at #13! Craziness!!)

Also this week, the chorus was invited to perform and make its plea for the arts at the District 31 IDEAL parent forum, which you can see in the video at the top of the post. We thank long-time friend of the chorus, Joan McKeever Thomas (see pic below), for this wonderful opportunity to invest in the future of our chorus children's arts education. The kids did us proud as always, and we hope that in sharing both their talent and their story, we made an impact.

So how can PS22 top a week like this? Well get ready, because we're going to give it the ol' elementary school try! Indeed there's lots more excitement on the way! On Sunday afternoon, the kids will be appearing at Madison Square Garden, where they will be singing the national anthem at the New York Rangers game! Earlier this week, we got a visit from Greg & Faith representing the team, who shot footage of the kids singing their version of "Empire State of Mind Pt. XXII" that will be played at the game alongside highlights of the season. Unfortunately, that video will not be able to be broadcast, but the MSG Network is supposed to be airing the kids' singing of the anthem, though it may be later on in the game during an intermission. Exciting stuff!! Puck drop is at 3:00 PM EST so set those TIVOS & DVRs!

Then on Tuesday, prepare for yet another brilliant PS22 Chorus collaboration! The kids will be joining reggae artist Matisyahu on stage at the 92nd Street Y in N.Y.C.!! They'll be performing their version of Matisyahu's "One Day" with the man himself! You may recall "One Day" was the official song of this year's Winter Olympics, and a great song it is! According to our sources, the show is nearly sold out, and the show will be airing live to 17 different cities in Hillels and JCCs across the country. PS22 will also be hosting a visit from Matis to rehearse (a la our unforgettable Celtic Woman collaboration), so this should prove to be yet another rewarding week for our blog followers!

To follow the PS22 Chorus blog and be alerted to all the new goings-on and music, click here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fiona's Song

PS22 Chorus member Fiona wrote this sweet and somber song she ironically calls "Friendship." I found it very touching when she sang it for me, and decided to work with her to arrange it for the full chorus. Here is the beautiful result.

Congratulations to Fiona for her superb song and performance here in the video. Already internet fans are comparing her to a young Avril Lavigne! Love it!! We're so proud of you, Fiona!! What a great example you are to show how to turn painful emotions into something beautiful.

UPDATE (3-13-10): CONGRATS TO FIONA!! She earned a YouTube Honor with her original song as the #68 Top Rated Music Video today!! Check out the screencap below!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Choral Director Magazine!

The PS22 Chorus of 2010 made the cover of CHORAL DIRECTOR MAGAZINE! The magazine includes a very in-depth article/interview with writer Eliahu Sussman, and features some excellent photos from Claudio Papapietro. Unfortunately the on-line version doesn't include all the great photos of the kids that were used in the hard copy version, but the complete article is available on Choral Director Magazine's website. (The magazine was apparently published back in November, but it just came to my attention the other day!)

More Billboard Recognition!

Awesome to discover that PS22 Chorus of 2010 is currently being featured on the home page of on as their featured viral video! Below is a screen cap of their home page, and a cap to the link to the vid and short article praising the kids' new version of "Lisztomania" by Phoenix!

Monday, March 08, 2010

More Lisztomania-mania!!

The PS22 Chorus of 2010 is definitely causing quite a stir around the internet with its newest cover of "Lisztomania" by Phoenix. In addition to earning over 50,000 views on its weekend debut and being featured in top spots on Buzzfeed & Reddit, today the video has shown up on three noteworthy blogs from The Village Voice, Teen Vogue, & MTV Buzzworthy! All have great things to say about the chorus's latest effort! Check out the screencaps below. And for more on "Lisztomania," click here.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Another Beautiful Celtic Message

The chorus just got another e-mailed message from Lynn Hillary of Celtic Woman, who visited the kids just last week.

Dear Gregg and PS22,

It's been almost a week since we met you and your incredible bunch of little superstars but we are all STILL talking about it all the time! I can't stress enough what an impression they made on us not just with their glorious voices and obvious love and dedication for the music they sing, but they were just such nice friendly kids!! I just know they will all go on to do great things in the world. Sometimes I forget what joy there is to be found in singing, and you all reminded me of that! Also your advice to the kids about "if you FEEL the music you can never go wrong!" is something I will always think about if I ever feel nervous!

I've been reading your amazing blog and really wanted to add my thanks too (you don't have to post this up, I'm sure you're running out of space! I just wanted to thank you again, I know it's all been said already but once more wouldn't hurt!!) I was on the meet and greet that night at Radio City and the people were amazed when I told them this was our first time performing with the children, they said it looked so natural, like it was really meant to be a part of the show all the time. If only you could be with us every night!

Performing You Raise Me Up now feels strange without PS22, like there is something missing, but their voices always resonate inside my head as we sing, so in a way it feels like they are there all around us, sometimes I imagine that they are! I think this is an experience that will stay with me for a long long time.

Thank you so much and please tell them that we really miss them and think about them a lot!

I wish you and the children continued success and happiness, and we really hope to see you again soon (for more hugs..and sniffs!)

I can't wait to see what you get up to next on your adventures...we'll be watching!!

Peace and Love,


Friday, March 05, 2010


Here's a fantastic song by Phoenix, and a fantastic rendition by the PS22 Chorus of 2010! The song is called, Lisztomania! I truly love this point in the year. The kids pick stuff up really quick -- only two rehearsals to get this performance! And you know the kids are coming into their own when every new video posted becomes a new favorite! Btw, this is my new favorite.... ;)

UPDATE (3-6-10): Thanks to our friend Perez Hilton, who tweeted about our new video earlier today!

UPDATE 2 (3-6-10): "Lisztomania" is already picking up some impressive YouTube honors, including the #10 Top Favorited Music Video Today!

UPDATE 3 (3-7-10): We're very honored to have gotten a message from Simon White from the band's management, who was kind enough to share this message:

Hi There. I'm one of Phoenix's managers and just wanted to say how much we all loved the performance of Lisztomania. I wept within the first 30 seconds! It's absolutely stunning, the arrangement is fantastic and the singing is just incredible.

The band and I were absolutely blown away - WOW!!!!

It's an absolutely astonishing version and definitely my favourite "remix" of any of their songs. Please give the chorus our best wishes and sincere thanks.

Simon White
(Coalition Management)

The band has since gone on to post the kids' version on their webpage! So BIG congrats to the kiddos!!

Ashton Hasn't Stopped Believin' in PS22!!

Thanks to our super friend, Ashton Kutcher for keeping the music of the PS22 Chorus of 2009 alive, by tweeting the kids' rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey! A great way to start OUR Friday is coming upon your awesome PS22 tweets, and we appreciate every one, Ashton!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

AWESOME New Radio City Pics!!

Big thanks to Maggie, one of our newfound friends from last week's Celtic Woman awesomeness, for sending on these beautiful pics taken by Bryce Cole! We really appreciate you capturing these moments!

Also, make sure you check out the photo gallery on Celtic Woman's site. They have been kind enough to give us awesome billing on their home page! All of our love to you, CW! The kids can't stop buzzing about our time together.

I've been showing the videos of the rehearsal & the show to my general music classes, and they are are all alternately blown away/rather amused at Ethan's blatant Chloe Agnew sniffing during "When You Believe!" Too much fun, and we miss you already....

Monday, March 01, 2010

Last Whiff of Celtic Woman....

Arrived are the last two videos from our amazing day with Celtic Woman at PS22. The first is a montage of CW teaching the kids "Spanish Lady" for their performance at Radio City Music Hall. This video shows the ladies of Celtic Woman and their director David Downes teaching the kids the encore for the show. And with Celtic Woman teaching, who could ever say learning can't be fun??

And here is the piece de resistance of our videos with Celtic Woman. I personally think this is the most potent musical accomplishment to come out of our collaboration with the group, and it kills me every time. I might even prefer this to the magnificent Radio City version, which, don't get me wrong, ALSO gets me every time But this one is just a little bit extra special -- it's more personal, the kids & CW are in peak form, and it's a more tender approach. Even Lisa Kelly gets a little choked up at a point when she's singing lead and the kids come in. This is what beautiful music is all about, right here in this video.

The kids also got a beautiful message from Chloe Agnew today.

Hey there Gregg and all my new PS22 best buddies...

I just wanted to send a little thank you from me and to tell you how amazing you all were over the last few days. I hand on my heart mean it when I say, it was without a doubt one of the best weekends I've had in my whole life. I grew up singing in loads of different choirs, and looking at you guys made me wish I had been surrounded by the love you all have for music,the team spirit you have, and I wish I had been as lucky to have someone as brilliant and cool as Mr.B for a teacher!!!!

I hope you are all very proud of yourselves for what you have achieved so young. Like I said the other night,YOU inspire ME to keep singing and to keep lovin' what I do!!!

I want you guys to always believe in yourselves and promise me you won't ever let anyone tell you you can't do something, cause once you believe in yourself you can do whatever you want to do.
You are the nicest,coolest,most talented people I've ever met and I hope we get to get to sing together sometime in the future.

Know that all of us Celtic girls are your biggest fans and we all love you....(especially me!! heehee!!!)

Keep on rockin'!!!! :-)
Love always...


Thanks to Mrs. Johnson and Ms. Lisa for the awesome video and pics on this post! Make sure you catch the first installment from our rehearsal with Celtic Woman, the NY1 coverage, and the already legendary appearance together at Radio City Music Hall.

It's just amazing how quickly bonds can be formed. We can only hope the powerful and instantaneous bond between Celtic Woman and the PS22 Chorus is something that will pull us all together again soon.