Pharrell Williams surprised children at a New York school while they were performing his songs at a concert.
The Happy hitmaker organised the concert with music charity Amp Up New York City, an initiative that gives children in schools across the city access to instruments and musical teaching.
Pharrell snuck onstage on Friday (09Dec16) as students from the Washington Heights middle school band were singing two of his new tracks - I See A Victory and Runnin' - from the soundtrack to new drama Hidden Figures.
He embraced the shocked students onstage as the audience screamed and cheered in shock, before Pharrell encouraged them to finish their set as he watched from the sidelines.
"I was about to cry,” singer Akyla Merced, 12, told the New York Daily News. "After I got that hug from Pharrell I just wanted to scream... To sing a song with an amazing artist that he wrote, and he’s there watching me, it was amazing.”
The school's music teacher, arts director Alan Davis, was in on the secret visit and had his students rehearsing the tunes form the Hidden Figures soundtrack for three weeks. "The emotional intensity that I saw on that stage, I don’t remember seeing before in my life,” he said. “It was really special.”
Pharrell was full of praise for the music students, and credited Amp Up for providing schools in New York with a valuable opportunity to fall in love with music. Launched in 2014, the music initiative reaches more than 67,000 students in nearly 600 public schools around the city.
"It’s amazing because you’re hearing the next generation who are being mentored and being taught by a school whose sole purpose is to build a future one lesson at a time. This was very special," he gushed. "Because it’s education, it’s art, it’s music - and art and music are two things that are currently disappearing from America. So the idea that this charter school caters to that is a beautiful thing to me.”
Hidden Figures tells the real-life story of three African-American NASA geniuses, played by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae, who overcame prejudice to work on the mission to launch late astronaut John Glenn into orbit.
The film is set for release on 25 December (16).