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Grammy Winning Artist Pharrell Williams Crashes Middle School Assembly for Surprise Performance with Amp Up NYC Students

Grammy Winning Artist Pharrell Williams Crashes Middle School Assembly For Surprise Performance With Amp Up NYC Students

Photo: Getty Images



On December 9th, 2016, Amp Up NYC®, a joint effort from Berklee College of Music, Little Kids Rock, and the NYC DOE, partnered with the New York Daily News to bring GRAMMY® award-winning singer-songwriter, rapper, and record producer Pharrell Williams to surprise the students of TEP Charter School at their school concert.

Williams’ visit brings praise to the Amp Up NYC collaboration’s success in bringing modern band music education to more than 67,000 students from nearly 600 NYC area public schools, like TEP, annually since 2014.

Student musicians spent weeks rehearsing “I See A Victory” and “Runnin,” two songs Williams produced for the film Hidden Figures, set for release on December 25, 2016. Their hard work paid off as he joined them on stage to an eruption of applause from the amazed assembly-goers. The Amp Up NYC student performers shed a few happy tears as they took in the moment, then like true artists, continued their set under the approving gaze of the song’s composer. Williams was speechless hearing the kids perform the new songs live for the first time and praised their incredible talent. 


Amp Up NYC is a music education initiative formed in partnership between Berklee College of Music, Little Kids Rock, and the New York City Department of Education to establish youth-centered, culturally relevant modern band music programs.

Established in 2014, Amp Up NYC’s programming now reaches more than 67,000 students from nearly 600 area schools annually with music education rooted in the popular genres they know and love.

Amp Up NYC represents the largest private investment in public school music education in the history of the United States.

Modern band focuses on teaching students to perform, compose, and connect to culturally relevant, youth-centered musical genres using guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, vocals, and computers.


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