NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The talented elementary school chorus from P.S. 22 in Staten Island is in D.C. for their Inauguration Day performance.
As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, the 65-member chorus left very early Sunday morning for the inauguration.
“I didn’t have an alarm,” said student C.J. Lindsay. ”I just knew I was supposed to get up at this time.”
Fifth grader Isiah Diaz is prepping for the big performance like a pro, WCBS 880′s Monica Miller reported.
“I’m going to listen to some of the music we’re practicing and when we get there, I’m just going to keep on practicing so I can’t make a mistake,” Diaz told Miller.
Director Gregg Breinberg has been at the helm of the popular fifth grade chorus for 13 years.
“I don’t think they understand the magnitude of it, and that’s the beauty of it, because they’ll be relaxed I think,” he said.
Breinberg has had his students perform in front of other big names in the past, but not this big.
“I honestly try not to make that big of a deal of it and I find that keeps me calm and it keeps them calm,” Breinberg told Miller.
Not so relaxed were the parents, waving goodbye as the buses pulled out. Many were both nervous and excited for their children.
“Oh my God, it’s extremely exciting for me to see my own daughter to perform,” said Damaris Cruz, whose daughter, Talia, is performing.
a href=”http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/12/23/schumer-nearly-100-new-york-city-area-residents-won-tickets-to-president-obamas-inauguration/”>Sen. Charles Schumer greeted the kids when they arrived in Washington Sunday afternoon.
Schumer, the chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, arranged for the 65 fifth-graders from P.S. 22 to sing on the west front of the Capitol on the morning of the ceremony.
Proud father Lawrence Brown snapped pictures of his daughter on the bus before the group headed off for Washington.
“Being that she’s on the short side, she has no choice but to be in the spotlight,” Brown told Miller. “I told her cherish it.”
And cherishing the moment is exactly what these students will be doing.
“It’s just a great honor to sing for the president and I feel grateful that I’m singing for the president and all the people around the world,” Jayden Stall told WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond.
The inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama is at noon Monday.
The choir will sing “God Bless the USA,” “Home,” “On Top of the World” and “One Dream.” Fifth grader Alicia Tubbs also practiced a bit of Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire” before setting off for Washington.
The chorus has recently performed with Carrie Underwood, “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips and Queen Latifah.
Previous P.S. 22 chorus groups have performed at the Oscars and the White House Christmas tree lighting.
The students from P.S. 22 were not the only ones headed to Washington, D.C. Sunday by bus.
Also headed off were members of the Rockaway community, affected by Superstorm Sandy.
A bus carrying first responders and victims of Sandy left a couple of hours later in Manhattan, their hope in attending a bit different than the chorus.
“Hopefully by visiting Washington, we might get to hear from some of the politicians, and hopefully the 50-plus billion that’s been allocated in federal funds will actually reach people on the ground; businesses in Rockaway,” said Brian Heffernan.
But if he gets to meet President Obama, C.J. said he was going to keep it simple. He said he will just say, “Hi.”
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