As I walk onstage, lights shine in my eyes, blacking out my view of the audience listening intently.

Billy Crystal recites words flashing across flat screens that are cleverly hidden behind the audience. Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Meryl Streep, John Williams, George Clooney and other Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences stars smile up at me and my peers. We are in the spotlight now.

As we start "Aahing" and "Oohing," Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding sings a soulful rendition of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." Famous producers and composers tear up while watching the video of the Academy members who passed away in 2011.

On Feb. 26, the Southern California Children's Chorus (SCCC) had the opportunity to perform at the 84th annual Academy Awards. Along with my brother Corey, I had the chance to take part in this special occasion.

In just a few rehearsals, my choir and I had the backup part to "What a Wonderful World" memorized, and we were ready for a long week of rehearsing, recording and taking chartered bus rides to Los Angeles.

SCCC is in its 15th season and includes more than 300 children from a wide range of economic and cultural backgrounds. We practice every Tuesday afternoon at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.

"We are often asked to perform with the Pacific Symphony," said SCCC Director Lori Loftus. "We perform each year with the Pacific Chorale. But this season has been extraordinary — we seem to have caught Hollywood's eye."

Of SCCC's whole program, the three oldest choirs got to perform: my brother's choir, Advanced Chorus; my choir, Concert Choir; and Ensemble.

On Feb. 20, Concert Choir went to Capitol Records in Hollywood to record the backup in Studio A. There we spent hours singing, starting over and singing some more. There we met Spalding and the producers of the show we would be working with.

On Awards night, many of us were star-struck. One boy met Morgan Freeman in the restroom. Can you imagine peeing next to "God?"

Other kids hung out backstage with Wilson and Cameron Diaz. My brother cracked some jokes with Clooney, who told him: "I would sing with you, but I'm terrible!"

While onstage, we could see many stars sitting in the front row. I saw Pitt, Jolie and Streep. My brother could see Clooney and Lopez.

Singing for them was like being in a trance. I just wanted to beam at them, giving my best performance. The best part was the stars smiled back.

After the performance, while walking backstage, Crystal and I exchanged smiles, and Natalie Portman and I a few words.

"Great job," she said. "You were amazing."

Walking away, I kept repeating to my friend in front of me: "That was Queen Amidala! Queen Amidala! Padmé!"

At the end of the evening we all received Oscar hats as a thank-you present and got to keep our super-top-secret backstage passes. This, I know, is one night my brother and I will never forget.

Newport Beach resident AMBER SMITH, 13, attends the Orange County High School of the Arts in Santa Ana. Her brother Corey, 12, goes to Ensign Intermediate in Newport Beach.