Looks like Pharrell's got a protégé in Detroit, as an elementary and middle school choir demonstrates in this clever take on his hit track, "Happy."
The 40 student singers at the Detroit Academy of Arts & Sciences (DAAS) put together this rousing rendition of the Billboard topper in a mere five hours as a submission for "America's Got Talent," and social media has claimed them triumphant. The video has garnered over 120,000 hits on YouTube, as it makes its away across the blogosphere.
"We were familiar with the song, but had never worked on it before," choir director Angela Kee tells the Good News Blog. "I am extremely excited because we did not expect this attention at all."
A classically trained pianist, Kee has led the choir for 12 years, which features students from grades 3-8. The choir rehearses during school and a couple of afternoons a week. Everyone must audition to be in the group by singing one verse of their favorite song in front of their classmates.
Kee says many students don't make it past that point.
"They can't handle it because they've never sung in front of anyone before," she explains. "I'm not looking for a good singer, not even a great singer, I'm wondering can you get up in front of your peers and sing your heart out."
She adds, "They must come to me unafraid, and I can take it from there."
DAAS is a charter school in Detroit, where 98 percent of students are on free or reduced cost lunch. Previously, the school choir has performed at halftime during a Lions game, and at business and charity events around Michigan and elsewhere. They were featured on "The Today Show" in 2011 after their retake on Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' popular hit "Empire State of Mind" went viral.
The kids dubbed their version "Detroit State of Mind."
"They're good and they contribute to the choreography," Kee comments. "My hopes and aspirations for this particular choir, I would love for them to perform at the White House for President Obama because they were in second and third grade when he took office and we were right here in the classroom. I made sure we watched the inauguration. I would like for them to someday perform for their president while he's still in office."