By Nicole Cortese
Prior to the start of America’s big game, the New Jersey Youth Chorus (NJYC) performed alongside actress and singer Queen Latifah at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. for her rendition of “America the Beautiful.” The chorus, based in Morristown, N.J. was conducted by Westminster Choir College graduate, founder and artistic director of the NJYC, Trish Joyce, ’85, and accompanied by Phillip Steffani, ’00.
Latifah personally invited the chorus by a Skype feed during a taping of her talk show. They had the opportunity to not only perform at the Super Bowl, but on Super Bowl Boulevard in New York, leading up to Sunday.
“I thought she was kidding when she explained they’d love to have the choir sing ‘America the Beautiful’,” Joyce said.
Joyce was contacted by Latifah’s team and was chosen from several other choirs they found around the web.
Out of the top three, Latifah ultimately chose the NJYC, and Joyce received a phone call that the chorus had been selected.
“I just picked one that I thought would be cool,” Latifah said to CBS New York about her choice. “Really bringing the song across the way I wanted to perform it and I thought their voices would fit perfectly.”
Joyce eagerly accepted before the woman could even finish her sentence, and then began the challenge of keeping the secret from the kids and parents, since Latifah’s performance was not yet announced. In order to prepare for this performance Joyce had to compile bits and pieces of what was expected.
“It was the quickest turnaround ever,” Joyce said. “I got the instrumental track for what they wanted leading up to it. Little changes were made [that day] and I finished writing it before Queen Latifah Skyped with the chorus.”