Wearing his signature trenchcoat, fedora and sunglasses, St. Paul singer Nicholas David performed before an audience of screaming students at St. Joseph's Catholic school in Rosemount on Thursday.

David -- who last month finished among the top three performers on NBC's popular singing competition "The Voice" -- didn't disappoint. He sang "Stand by Me," and "Lean on Me," among other popular tunes.

But Thursday's event wasn't just any performance for David. It was an opportunity to say thank you to the teachers who helped shape and guide him at St. Joe's, where he attended kindergarten through eighth grade from 1986 to '95.

It was also a chance for his teachers to say how proud they were of his musical success.

Among those teachers was LeAnn Mansour, who taught David music when he attended St. Joe's.

She and a group of current students wrote David a letter after Christmas, asking him to perform at his alma mater.

In the letter, the students said David was a great role model and mentioned "how inspiring he was to us," Mansour said. "How he taught us to follow our dreams and to pursue your passion. That if you work hard, you can be successful.

"We told him in the letter, we couldn't afford [to pay him for] an appearance, but we could pay him with cookies. And he got a big kick out of that."

David agreed to the performance, ending the nearly hour-long show with "Over the Rainbow." Some of the students accompanied him on that one.

"It was very intimate and sincere," Mansour said of the show. "What a super, super neat guy."

The Rev. Paul Jarvis, the pastor at St. Joe's, echoed those feelings.

"He told the kids how fortunate they were to receive their education at St. Joe's," said Jarvis via e-mail. "Everyone left that performance walking on air. It continued afterwards as he took photos with the kids.

"It was a good day."

Rose French • 612-673-4352