Newport Kids Will Sing for Oscar’s Audience

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Some local kids will be singing alongside “Oscar” this weekend, on stage and live on national television at the Academy Awards.

A group of children from Newport Beach-based Southern California Children’s Chorus will be singing the backup vocals during the “In Memoriam” tribute segment of the event this Sunday in Hollywood.

“It’s absolutely exciting,” said Carol Aspling, director for the advanced chorus level and directing the group this weekend. “It’s quite an honor and privilege… We’re very thankful for the opportunity.”

About 100 young singers, ages 10 through 18, including one college freshman, make up the group to that will be performing on stage this Sunday at the Kodak Theatre.

There is no guarantee that any of the children will be shown on TV, Aspling said, so be sure to really listen during the tribute segment.

The group pre-recorded the backup vocals at Capitol Records, studio A, on Monday. They spent a few hours recording the tracks in preparation for this weekend’s live event, Aspling said.

“The kids did tremendously well,” she said. “They nailed it in (just) a few takes.”

The kids had only a few weeks and just three rehearsals to get it right. They’ll be doing several dress rehearsals up until the main event.

It’s helped that they’ve been so well prepared by SCCC director Lori Loftus, said Aspling.

“This season has been extraordinary- we seem to have caught Hollywood’s eye,” Loftus said. “For me, it’s like getting an Oscar ourselves.”

The volunteer parents have been amazing too, Aspling added. The volunteer chaperones that work year-round will be accompanying the group this weekend, as well as most of the chorus staff.

“We have fabulous parent support,” Aspling said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

Although they won’t get any seats to watch the rest of the awards show, they’ll be bussed in for their part and then right out, singing on stage is more than enough for the kids, Aspling said, they’re very happy.

“The experience alone, just to be there, is very exciting for them,” she said. “They’re ecstatic.”

“It’s been really special for the kids,” Aspling added.

More than 300 children are enrolled in the non-profit organization’s 15th season.

The group has performed with the Pacific Symphony, backup for Jackie Evancho on NBC’s primetime American Giving Awards, recorded a track for Greek performer Mario Frangoulis’ CD, several tracks for the new polar bear documentary narrated by Meryl Streep, various Disney performances, and many more.

About 38 million viewers, in 200 countries, around the world will tune in for the awards show.

“We’re honored to have this opportunity and we’re thankful for the many performances we’re able to do,” Aspling said. “We hope to continue the legacy of music and children’s singing for years to come.”


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