Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The P.S. 22 Chorus: Landslide

My student assistant's jaw dropped to the ground this week when she found out that I had never seen the videos of the PS22 Chorus. "But this is what you do!" she exclaimed.

Somehow, incredibly, I have missed these sweet performances by the Staten Island P.S. 22 Chorus. The chorus was started by a 2nd grade teacher, Mr. Breinberg (Mr. B, of course) who wanted to teach the kids popular songs, songs they would relate to. He put a few videos up on YouTube, started a blog, and the way these viral Cinderella stories go, the kids were soon singing with the likes of Tori Amos and making Stevie Nicks cry.

Well, who wouldn't cry? In a New York Times article, Mr. B says,
"There’s a great feeling in seeing these kids — some of whom have been abused, neglected, who have nothing to look forward to when they get home — and knowing that when they come in to my class to sing, you can just see the depth of their emotional experience come through."
And does it ever come through. I love this about music. When these kids sing the lines But time makes you bolder/ children get older/ I'm getting older too, you can see that it hits some of them deeply and they sing it straight from the core. Music gives us a place to take our experiences, give them a voice, and send them flying. It also brings us together, and helps us realize that while we all come from vastly different places in our lives, we can sing the same song. Deeply. Boldly. And if we let it, sharing that song can change who we are.

(Landslide video)


Sophie said...

Oh my gosh. I am in your blog. I still can't believe that you had never seen PS 22 before.

Josephine Cameron said...

:) Welcome to the blog (& thanks for the PS22 tip)! Hope your conference goes well this weekend!

Anna Vodicka said...

That's awesome! Amazing what good teaching + good music can do for kids...thanks for sharing (the clip AND your own good teaching + music!)