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Rio 2016 opening ceremony : Choir from Rio favela to sing Olympic anthem

Nearly 40 kids from NGO project invited to sing at world’s biggest show after internet video goes viral

It’s been two years since children from Vila Ipiranga, a favela in the city of Niterói, recorded themselves in a video that would go viral. In the video they sung We Are The World by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie. The video was such a success, that the youngsters received the biggest invitation of their lives: to participate at the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The children will be singing the Olympic anthem, composed originally composed by Greeks Spiros Samara and Kostas Palamas at the first Games of the modern era (1896). “It’s our 10-year anniversary and this was a huge present for us,” says Gabriel Ponce, general manager of Projeto More, an NGO that supports children and teens through educational and social activities.

The Olympic anthem was integrated into proceedings by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1958, and featured at the opening ceremony at the Olympic Games in Rome two years later.

Ponce said the children would not have any problems singing in English. “Some of the children speak English, yes, they see films in English,” he said. “Over the course of 10 years, the project has been financed American company, so we always offer workshops.”

On performing in front of the world, Ponce says of the children, “For the majority, especially the older ones, it still hasn’t sunk in. At the open rehearsal on Sunday, they were nervous to perform in front of the public, but they’re super excited.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s also a unique opportunity to show their talent to the world. It’s phenomenal,” he said.

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