Nearly 20 kids went back to high school Monday after a very special weekend: They danced onstage with Pharrell at the Oscars Sunday night. It’s the fourth time students of Los Angeles’ Academy of Music at Hamilton High School have teamed up with the superstar musician in recent months.
“It was a dream. It was awesome,” Alexa Baruch, 15, tells member station KPCC. “Leonardo DiCaprio was right in front of us.”
The students were chosen to help Pharrell perform his song “Happy,” from the soundtrack for the animated film Despicable Me 2. The song hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 list last week.
“It was a very long process, but very worth it,” junior Preston Parker tells KPCC’s Mary Plummer of working with Pharrell along with his classmates from the school’s dance and chorus programs. “It was crazy incredible. It was a true blessing.”
The only thing better, Parker said, would be “to actually win an Oscar.”
The students were lucky to get a chance to work with a global pop star — and with choreographer Fatima Robinson, says Kelci Hahn, the school’s choral director. They shared the stage with Pharrell and about 20 professional dancers.
“It was such a unique opportunity and these kids will forever have something really special to remember,” she said.
If you want proof the students took their chance seriously, consider this: They kept it a secret, agreeing not to use social media such as Instagram or Facebook to discuss their upcoming gig at the Dolby Theatre with one of the hottest stars in music. Only in recent days were allowed to spread the news.
The Academy of Music is a magnet program; it relies heavily on donations, school officials tell KPCC.