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EMOTIONAL KICKOFF

Sunday - 2/3/2013, 6:44pm  ET

Jennifer Hudson performs with students from Sandy Hook Elementary School singing "America the Beautiful" before the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The Associated Press

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers have a tough act to follow after an emotional performance by the chorus from Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The chorus, which featured 26 children from the Newtown, Conn., school where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed in a shooting rampage Dec. 14, were joined by Jennifer Hudson for "America the Beautiful" before the start of the Super Bowl. The kids came out first, dressed simply in khakis and white polo shirts, a green ribbon pinned to the right side of their shirts. Several were smiling as the Super Bowl crowd rose to give them a standing ovation. They sang the first chorus, their voices high and sweet with innocence, before Hudson joined them.

Hudson's mother and nephew were shot to death five years ago by her former brother-in-law.

It was a powerful image, and Ravens nose tackle Terrence Cody appeared to be crying as he listened with his head tilted back, his eyes closed. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh stood with his left arm draped over the shoulder of his daughter, Allison.

The children were given another ovation as they left the field.

-- Nancy Armour -- http://twitter.com/nrarmour

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EDITOR'S NOTE -- "Super Bowl Watch" shows you the Super Bowl and the events surrounding the game through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across New Orleans and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.


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