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The Young People's Chorus of New York City: Hitting all the right notes

The Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC for short) is, according to Analeia, "a whole group of kids getting along together, singing, dancing and having fun with each other."

More than 1,700 singers participate each year. Natalie has been in YPC for six years; Isaiah is in his first.

The youngest are in grade school.

"Singing is kind of like a medicine for me," said Noah.

Miles said, "Let's say I got into a fight with my brother? My way to forget that would be to sing."

Members of the Young People's Chorus of New York City.  CBS News

The oldest are teens. "Every time I leave a YPC rehearsal, I'm just feeling a lot better and a lot happier," said Aiden.

"Like you belong somewhere," added Marcelo.

In 1988 piano prodigy Francisco Núñez founded YPC right out of college. "I wanted to bring children from all over New York City, children that had money with children that didn't necessarily have money," Núñez said. "The differences were very stark."

He soon realized singing was only part of what he could provide: "I started to get very involved in our children's lives. And I said, 'Well, what do you need to go to college?' 'Well, I'm not passing chemistry.' 'Well, let me get you a chemistry tutor.'"

Tutoring, SAT prep, college application support – all became part of the YPC experience … in addition to choir practice, of course.

Members of the Young People's Chorus of New York City.

"As we get towards our really important concerts, we usually rehearse six or seven days a week," Natalie said.

Eighty percent of the group receives a scholarship. "If a parent is able to pay, we happily accept it," Núñez said. "And then we also ask for donations from everyone we meet."

Sixteen-year-old Marcus says YPC is hitting all the right notes. "I grow up in impoverished neighborhoods, like, my entire life. So, I appreciate the chance to meet people from all these different cultures."

For 30 years, Núñez said, 100% of the kids in the YPC afterschool program have gone to college.  And they've also sung at the White House, and for the pope.

The Young People's Chorus of New York City performs at Lincoln Center. CBS News

Recently, they performed at New York's Lincoln Center to a packed house.

"There's always a huge applause, and we bow, and it's really nice," Astrid said.

And for the past two years, they even sang a Christmas Carol right here on "Sunday Morning."

From 2018: The Young People's Chorus of New York City joins anchor emeritus Charles Osgood in performing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas":

Charles Osgood performs a Christmas favorite by CBS Sunday Morning on YouTube

"Everyone was so welcoming actually when we came," said Adedayo. "It really just felt like being on the show was an extension of the YPC community that we already had."

… a perfect season's greeting for all.

For more info:

Story produced by Mary Raffalli.

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