A Teachable Moment

We finally put poor little 2008 out of its misery. In the
spirit of a fresh, brand-spanking new year, may I submit a bit of inspiration
and hope? A friend of mine recently sent me a link that warmed my heart,
moistened my eyes, and reminded me of the power of viral video.

There’s nothing glitzy, gimmicky, or high-tech about the
video. It’s simply a grade school chorus giving the 4-part-harmony treatment to
a Coldplay tune. But within a few seconds, you’re completely sucked in. And
it’s not just the beauty of the kids’ (wonderful) voices. It’s the looks on
their faces—they are feeling the music. They are in the zone—spurred on
by the enthusiasm of their passionate, pony-tailed music teacher.

Upon further investigation, I found out that the chorus of
Public School 22 in Staten Island is a textbook viral phenomenon. The teacher,
Gregg Breinberg, started a blog back in 2006, as well as a YouTube Channel for
the choir. Then, he faithfully and frequently posted videos of their
performances—for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in the halls of Radio City
Music Hall, etc.

Eventually, someone at SONY records heard the kids cover a
Tori Amos song, and invited the chorus to perform for the flame-haired indie
rocker.

But the truly viral magic happened when celebrity gossip
blogger Perez Hilton began posting the chorus’ videos on his wildly popular
blog
. The result: almost 3 million YouTube hits and an article in the New York
Times.

Talk about a teachable moment.

It’s easy to get jaded about the viral thing—to try and
figure out that magic gimmick that will get your message out to the masses. But
in the end it’s really about the content. Watching the beautiful, genuine,
and—dare I say—inspiring videos of the PS 22 Chorus, I’m reminded that it’s
not always about technical wizardry or slick marketing. It’s about quality,
consistency, and believing in what you do.

Enthusiasm, passion, and authenticity are . . . infectious.

Don’t take it from me; take it from the PS 22 Chorus:

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