DETROIT (FOX 2) - Long before the Detroit Youth Choir rocked out on one of the biggest TV stages, they were quietly changing lives through music, helping kids find their voice, acceptance and new family.
The talented children are now overnight sensations, after their showstopping performance on "America's Got Talent" earlier this week. They performed the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song "Can't Hold Us," with a high energy twist. Their performance captured everyone's heart and even brought several people to tears.
"Every young man and woman on the stage represents me, and where I came from," said a choked-up host Terry Crews after their performance. He gave the group his own Golden Buzzer, which means the choir's done auditioning and they're going straight to the live shows.
"Oh my God, he was emotional," performer Brandon Hill told us. "And it got to me because he's from this area; he's from Flint."
Hill and other performers all find comfort in each other's company, as they all have their own stories to tell as well. The choir's artistic director Anthony White says a big part of the choir's success and cohesion also comes from him giving these kids what he missed out on as a young man.
"I didn't receive a lot of acceptance as a young person to sing," he said. "It was always, 'Why are you singing? Let's go play basketball, let's go play football.'
"It was just so amazing that the work I put in with these young people is coming to the surface."
White's been leading the youth choir for 20 years now.
"The way our kids sing, they will make you cry," he promises.
"We have been through thick and thin, everything. All the laughs, all the tears," said performer Brandon Hill.
"We may have our insecurities, but we're able to face them, face to face," said performer Victoria Hunter. "And that's a major part of the emotion coming out when we sing."
Member Gwendolyn Jackson has also found solace in the choir. Her father Marcel Jackson, a member of Detroit 300, was gunned down in 2012. She was just 5 years old.
"Hearing that your father has passed away, it's a very hard subject to even hear," she told us. "Coming to DYC and knowing that some people are going through the same stuff that I'm going through, it makes me feel comfort."
When it's all said and done, DYC wants the world to get the message behind the music:
"Detroit is back," White said. "We're here to stay. The youth will come out of the ashes and be successful in this world."
The Detroit Youth Choir is looking for their "forever home."They say that if they can buy their own building, they would be able to expand the program and get a greater community outreach.
You can get more information on the Detroit Youth Choir online here.