The Detroit Youth Choir fell short when it came to taking home the America’s Got Talent title, but upon their return to the Motor City, they received a memorable surprise. According to the Detroit Free Press, the choir was awarded $1 million.
The donation was a collective effort between local businesses and organizations. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan surprised the choir with the gift before scores of people during their homecoming celebration. Amongst the companies who contributed to the donation include the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, DTE Energy Foundation, Skillman Foundation, Huntington Bank, and Bank of America. Other donors included the Ballmer Group, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Dakkota Integrated Systems and the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation.
“I was watching you guys and you and Kodi Lee are on that stage, and my heart’s in my throat,” Mayor Duggan told the youngsters after they returned home. “When they announced it was Kodi Lee, I was a little disappointed for a second. But I was like, ‘He deserves a million dollars; he was great.’ The only thing I thought was unfair was there should’ve been two first prizes.”
The America’s Got Talent stage isn’t the only notable one that the predominately Black choir has graced. They’ve performed at several Detroit Pistons games and were a part of the CityLab Detroit summit in 2018. “Our kids are your average Detroit young person,” choir director Anthony White told The Detroit News. “They relate to every young person in America and the world. There are no egos, all of our kids are good kids. We just want to represent to the country how good these young people are.”
America’s Got Talent winner Kodi Lee—a musician who is autistic and blind—won $1 million and will perform at the Paris Theater in Vegas.