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Old 06-22-2009, 09:53 AM   #1
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PS22 Chorus

I saw a story about them on ABC-they're 4th and 5th graders from Staten Island who have gained a cult Internet following. Check out some of their videos on YouTube, they're awesome. They have a blog too. They do Coldplay and Tori Amos covers and many more..

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PS22 Chorus

NY Post

FADE-OUT: Teacher Gregg Breinberg fears for his PS 22 chorus

Last updated: 8:02 am
June 21, 2009

Ashton Kutcher tweeted that they were his "all-time favorite choir" -- and they haven't even graduated elementary school.

But now these adorable, pint-sized singing sensations -- fourth- and fifth-graders from Staten Island's PS 22 -- may be wailing the blues.

Despite their wild popularity, record and movie offers and kudos from superstars, these angelic voices could be silenced under the city's sharpened budget ax.

The 65 amazing kids have performed with Stevie Nicks at Madison Square Garden, sang for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in DC and recorded backup vocals for the band Passion Pit. Radio station Z100 recently aired the chorus' rendition of Lady GaGa's "Just Dance."

But the group's just not good enough for the city's bean counters.

The dedicated staff at the Graniteville school, where about 75 percent of the 1,500 students qualify for free lunch, are desperately scrambling to find a solution.

"My goal is to keep the program intact, but some things are out of my control. I can't say at this time what will happen to the program next fall," said Principal Melissa Donath.

"There are budgetary losses and all the schools are feeling it," she said, adding that the test scores and grades of the 10- and 11-year-old warblers have soared since they've been together.

Passionate music teacher Gregg Breinberg, who started the chorus in 2000, said "it comes down to being able to hire a sub for me for two days a week.

"I have a sub who covers my classes so I can teach chorus," explained Breinberg, 36. "The funding for that position is going to be completely decimated."

The kid-chorus first burst onto the international scene three years ago when celebrity blogger Perez Hilton linked to one of their online videos singing a Tori Amos number.

"I'm the PS 22 Chorus' biggest fan!" Hilton told The Post. "Not only are Mr. B's arrangements great but his song selection is impeccable."

For many of these kids, singing serves as an important release from the pressures of a difficult home life and financially struggling families, said Breinberg. "Arts programs are always the first to get cut. The students need this emotional outlet."

The chorus hopes to tap friends in high places. Arne Duncan, federal Education Secretary, called Breinberg Friday to express concern "about the funding issue and asked if there was anything he could do to help," said "Mr. B."

He hopes their celebrity following, which includes Rihanna, Tori Amos, Suzanne Vega, Coldplay and Marcia Gay Harden, will help bail them out if need be.

"Stevie Nicks told me we were amazing singers," said soprano Ali Stein. "I told her she was amazing-er."

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Old 06-22-2009, 10:00 AM   #2
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One of my favorites

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