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Singing on 'The Sopranos'

Weymouth preschoolers get 2 minutes of fame in TV finale

About 15 children from Weymouth Preschool will be featured tonight on a television show they are too young to watch. A song the students recorded will be used in the season finale of "The Sopranos."

The children, mostly between the ages of 4 and 6, are heard -- but not seen -- singing Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" during a scene from the popular HBO series, which chronicles New York mob boss Tony Soprano's family, associates, and enemies.

Ryan McHugh, a teacher at the school, said he received a frantic call one Thursday in January from Jennifer Harper, who coordinates music for "The Sopranos." She had read on the Internet that McHugh had recorded a CD of children's music and wanted to know if he could record a version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" within 24 hours.

A one-day turnaround was impossible, but the 25-year-old Randolph resident was able to book time in a recording studio by Saturday. The children, who are from Weymouth, Braintree, Quincy, Hull, and other area communities, spent several hours singing the chorus to the song. McHugh accompanied them on piano, and some older brothers and sisters chimed in, too.

Martin Bruestle, the producer for "The Sopranos," declined to say in what scene the piece would be used or what the significance of the song was. But he called the song "a wonderful recording, very joyous."

But McHugh has some idea of what to expect (though no one explained the significance of the Dylan song). The 2-minute scene featuring the song was described to McHugh so he would know how the music should sound.

During the segment, he said, Tony Soprano talks on a cellphone outside a school and the children's voices can be heard through open windows, as if they are rehearsing inside.

McHugh has also recorded a double CD called "Teacher Ryan Music Time!" with children from the private nonprofit Weymouth Preschool, which is part of the South Shore Day Care Services and mostly serves children from low- or moderate-income homes. While he likes working with children, he'd rather perform with a rock band, McHugh said.

McHugh plays guitar, piano, and drums, has performed with the band "Junction 18," and is now in another group, "Sunset is a Battle."

While adults may be impressed by the children's participation in one of television's most talked-about series, only one of the students had even heard of "The Sopranos," and many said they would prefer to be heard on "SpongeBob SquarePants." But they all seemed to enjoy the experience, even if they won't get to see the results.

"That was fun, fun, fun!" said 5-year-old Amanda Hodges. Not quite like a Soprano family conversation.

Tonight's episode, "All Due Respect," airs at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Matt Carroll can be reached at

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