Back in 2017, the choir at Cardinal Shehan Catholic School in North Baltimore went viral with its rendition of Andra Day’s “Rise Up." The performance drew the attention of The View’s Whoopi Goldberg, who invited the choir to perform for her birthday with Day and rapper Common. With that appearance, Cardinal Shehan garnered widespread acclaim and even scored a 2018 Daytime Emmy Nomination.
Ever since, offers for the choir—which consists of students grades 3 through 8—to perform have been flooding in from all over the country. And next week, they’re bringing their friends from Pikesville Jewish day school Krieger Schechter for a triumphant return to The View’s studios in New York City, where they will sing alongside Emmy Award-winner Billy Porter in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“It always feels good when someone welcomes you back to your home,” says Cardinal Shehan music director Kenyatta Hardison. “We’re very excited about getting the opportunity to perform again.”
Krieger Schechter and Cardinal Shehan first got together through Schechter choir member Harrison Fribush, who was inspired by the viral video. For his Bar Mitzvah project, Fribush decided to raise money through a GoFundMe page to support after-school music education for youth in Baltimore. Fribush has pledged half of the money raised—currently close to $11,000—to Cardinal Shehan, with a goal to reach $25,000.
“I saw how impactful that video was, and how loving and amazing all their voices were,” Fribush, 13, says. “I want to do something to bring my choir together with theirs and spark a difference in our communities.”
As for the performance, Hardison is working with Porter’s music coordinator to work out the details for the tone and presentation. The plan is to sing a medley, starting out with Diana Ross’ “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand” and fading into John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Krieger Schechter begins its rehearsal with Cardinal Shehan today in preparation for the taping on January 14, which will air on January 20. As Hardison sees it, it’s apt that the joint performance coincides with a day commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I see these things happen with two races coming together,” Hardison says. “I feel like Dr. King is smiling down. What better way to represent Martin Luther King Jr. than for us to perform together? Our two schools coming together and forming a friendship—it’s powerful.”