The elementary school chorus will take the stage Monday next to President Obama and the presidential entourage to perform a four-song medley. They’re not even teenagers yet, but the fifth-graders in the P.S. 22 chorus are used to being in the spotlight, having performed at the Academy Awards, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and alongside countless star singers from Katy Perry to Kylie Minogue. Director Gregg Breinberg has made social-media stars out of the youngsters, proudly posting their videos on YouTube — and over the past eight years more than 50 million people have tuned in.The genuine innocence of the kids has earned them fans of all ages, including Beyonce and Anne Hathaway, who invited them to the 2011 Oscars.
But their power has also brought out a humanitarian side, as the 65-strong group has taken the stage at fundraisers for war veterans, children’s rights and even Hurricane Sandy victims, which, for much of the choir, hit too close for comfort. The school is located in Staten Island, just five miles inland from the coastal neighborhoods devastated by Sandy in October. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, as the overseer of the inauguration ceremony, offered the invitation to the group after Obama’s reelection in November.
Hopefully their nerves will be tempered for this latest high-profile performance, though many of them seem like seasoned professionals by now. After all, it’s not the first time they’ve sung for the President: the group traveled to Washington in 2009 to perform with rapper Common at the National Tree Lighting Ceremony at the White House.