YONKERS N.Y. ? As Yonkers students dressed in Christmas shirts and Santa hats sang "Jingle Bells," shoppers stopped what they were doing to clap and cheer.
With its auditorium under construction and unable to hold a holiday concert, students from Yonkers School 21 marched several blocks to an A&P supermarket to sing holiday songs the week before Christmas.
The students public singing will comfort a lot of shoppers in the wake of the Connecticut shooting, said Principal Timo Hughes.
"Our school has performed at different venues, including this one, in the past, and ever time it just gets better," said Hughes. "We're actually preparing to do some Bruce Springsteen songs in the future. These kids really practiced their hearts out and they really loved doing it. I couldn't think of any better way to take everyone's mind off the tragedy and really jump into the spirit of the holidays."
It was the most fun he had all week, said Ryan Ramnauth, 10, one of the 54 students participating in the event.
"It's the week before Christmas, so it's a good idea to spread some holiday cheer," said Ramnauth. "We don't have a place in a school where we can all sing as a group, but that hasn't stopped us. I wanted to be here because I think it's going to make some shoppers happy, and that makes me happy."
The young singers deserved serious recognition for their efforts, said shopper Sylvia Aal.
"I've been in a little bit of a funk since the school shooting last week, so seeing these young kids out having fun really brightened my mood," said Aal. "I had no idea that they were going to be here, but it's the small and unexpected things in life that make the biggest difference. This made my day and officially made me ready for Christmas."