Making the Grade: Children's Choir Sings at White House

Singing songs about human and civil rights is the focus of the Park School's Inspirational Freedom Choir from Brookline, Massachusetts.

So impressed by her students, the choir's music specialist, Janice Allen, recently reached out to the White House about having them perform at one of the many holiday receptions there this time of year.

A month later, they got a call back, and it turns out the White House was equally impressed with the talent of these youngsters as well. The students were now headed to Washington.

"My heart sunk. I was so excited," Allen said.

"I pinched myself as hard as I could to make sure I wasn't dreaming," fifth grader Will Olmested said.

"I was excited but did not put my hopes up until she told us that we're going and then I was like 'whoa!'" sixth grader Kata Khakali explained.

Whoa is right! Parents quickly made arrangements for the trip and documented the journey every step of the way.

Once on the ground in the nation's capital, the group did some sightseeing, along with practicing their singing skills in front of the Washington Monument, before their big performance at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

"For me I would say the most fun part was getting into the White House," Kata said. "It was really like, 'Wow, this is like, all of this stuff. I can't believe I'm in the White House.'"

Inside, the Inspirational Freedom Choir performed a number of songs in front of a roaming audience.

Then the word came they would in fact be singing in front of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama - a dream come true for many of them.

"From the time they walked in, they shook every child's hand and spoke to every child," Allen said.

"It was a once in a lifetime experience and I'm so glad that I got it while I was still young and not some old, grumpy man," Will said.

"The whole experience was extremely memorable and awesome and fun," Pierce Haley, an eighth grader, said.

A moment they won't soon forget and perhaps an early Christmas gift for a group of choir students from Brookline.

"I know that they are going to do something special in their lives because of that encounter. They are going to do wonderful things," Allen said. 

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