NEW ORLEANS (CBSNewYork/AP) — Before Super Bowl XLVII kicked off, a chorus of 26 children from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — sang “America the Beautiful,” accompanied by “American Idol” alum Jennifer Hudson. Grammy winner Alicia Keys performed the national anthem.
The students and Hudson wore green ribbons on their shirts in honor of the 20 first-graders and six adults who were killed in a Dec. 14 shooting rampage.READ MORE: R. Kelly Found Guilty Of All Counts In Sex Trafficking, Racketeering Trial
The Newtown community is still healing from the December tragedy, but efforts by Super Bowl organizers and the local sports teams like the New York Knicks have helped bring healing to Newtown.
Wearing white shirts that seemed to embody the innocence of youth, with green ribbons pinned on the right side of their shirts, the 26 children stood on the NFL’s red, white and blue shield-shape logo and many smiled excitedly as they sang the first verse before a silent yet packed Superdome crowd. Then Hudson, wearing a black blouse and long, white skirt, fronted them for a second verse that showcased her sterling voice.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh watched alongside his daughter, Alison.
Fans offered a rousing ovation at the finish, and the chorus then trotted to the 20-yard line and turned, with their hands on their hearts, to watch Alicia Keys sing the national anthem.
Judging by the responses on social media, the performance appeared destined to become one of the most poignant memories of the Super Bowl, regardless of what played out in the game.
“Sandy hook elementary chorus singing America the beautiful and Alicia keys national anthem makes me proud to be American,” model Kate Upton said on her Twitter page.READ MORE: Some Health Care Workers Still Defiant As New York State Vaccine Mandate Takes Effect
Keys performed a lounge-y, piano-tinged — and live — version of the national anthem ahead of the Super Bowl on Sunday.
The Grammy-winning singer played the piano as she sang “The Star Spangled Banner” with her eyes shut. Her publicist said the performance was live, days after halftime performer Beyonce admitted singing along to a prerecorded track at the Inauguration.
Keys’ version was soft and featured additional lyrics: She added “living in the home” before belting “home of the brave” as she finished the song.
The students and Hudson wore green ribbons on their shirts in honor of the 20 first-graders and six adults who were killed in a Dec. 14 shooting rampage.
An NFL spokesman said no one with the chorus was available for interviews, but a statement was delivered on behalf of the school.
“We have come to New Orleans to represent the Sandy Hook Family and the community of Newtown, Connecticut,” the statement said. “Our wish is to demonstrate to America and the world that, ‘We are Sandy Hook and We Choose Love.'”
Super Bowl XLVII will be broadcast on CBS, with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.MORE NEWS: New York City's Vaccine Mandate Could Impact Nets Season, As Irving Reportedly Not Getting Shot
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