Some beautiful singing by the Baltimore Cardinal Shehan School Choir. Inspiring work young folks!
Baltimore middle-schoolers’ viral rendition of ‘Rise Up’ helps soothe a troubled nation
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary for 11-year-old Kai Young as he arrived for a morning choir rehearsal at Cardinal Shehan School in Baltimore late last month.
He mingled with friends, suppressed any nerves he had about singing his solo and let out a voice that would eventually be heard by millions — although he had no idea of that at the time. Kai was simply singing because that’s what he loves to do.
Over the course of just a few weeks, Kai and his school’s choir have appeared on television stations, courted countless media requests and gone viral for their uplifting performance of “Rise Up” by American singer and songwriter Andra Day.
It all started when Kenyatta Hardison, the choir director, decided to record her students’ progress on a Facebook Live video for the kids’ parents.
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“I thought I was just singing and when she took that video I thought it was just going to be a simple video,” Kai said recently, “but it really wasn’t.”
Practice that morning was only the second time Kai and nearly 30 of his classmates in the choir had met up this school year, and they were rehearsing “Rise Up” for an upcoming gala.
As her kids got ready to sing, Hardison took out her phone and began recording live on Facebook, figuring parents would tune in to watch their children.
Hardison’s prediction was slightly off.
Since posting the video on her personal Facebook account, the original nine-minute clip has amassed nearly 3.5 million views as of Friday morning. The video quickly spread and was eventually picked up by ChoirBuzz, a choral-focused Facebook group, whose video of the Cardinal Shehan School Choir has been viewed more than 5.3 million times.
The powerful lyrics and the children’s talented voices have resonated deeply with viewers, even bringing some to tears. Several commenters shared stories of personal struggles and how the video has inspired them.
“This touched my heart so much! Keep reaching kids through music!!” a Facebook user who said she was diagnosed with breast cancer last month wrote in one of the most liked comments on the ChoirBuzz video.