NEW YORK (AP) — After the glamour and glitz of recent days, it’s back to the books for the chorus kids at Public School 22 on Staten Island.
The fifth-graders were back in class Wednesday after a whirlwind couple of days that included performances at Disneyland, the Academy Awards and Oprah Winfrey’s post-Academy Awards show.
While the tired children were glad to be home, there still was some thrill and excitement over what they had experienced, which included closing out the Academy Awards with a performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” flanked by the evening’s award winners and the show’s hosts, Anne Hathaway and James Franco.
“I’ve still got a little bit of the glamour inside of me,” said 10-year-old Kurria Grady, who said she planned to share that with her family by showing them her photos and journal entries from the trip.
“It was the moment of my life,” said another 10-year-old chorus member, Sarah Viegas.
The chorus at the school first started garnering widespread attention a few years ago, when director Gregg Breinberg posted clips of them singing contemporary songs on YouTube. That led to widespread media attention. Hathaway showed up at the school in December to extend the invitation to perform.
While the performance had most viewers letting out a collective “Awwwwww” and earned the kids a standing ovation from the audience, not everyone thought it was praiseworthy.
Andy Cohen, senior vice president of original programming and development for Bravo, criticized the performance on a Monday morning appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” saying it was “just awful.”
Breinberg said the comments had upset him on the children’s behalf. “I can’t lie and say it wasn’t upsetting to see this gentleman had absolutely no thought of these children’s feelings, these 10-year-old children,” he said.
He said school officials had talked to the children before and after the performance, to make them understand that not everybody would always be positive about what they did.
Cohen has since apologized, saying Tuesday on the Bravo show he hosts that “those P.S. 22 kids did not deserve it.”
As for the children, even though it’s time to focus on everyday things like homework and tests, their celebrity moment will always be with them.
“That was just an experience I’ll never forget,” said Skyhlette White.
“It was just so nice to see people stand up,” she said of the standing ovation. “People actually know who we are, and feel the music with us. That just inspires me.”
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.