Region Chorus: The night the lights went out

by Sam Shelenberger, Staff Writer

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The PMEA Region 2 Choir practiced by phone light after the power went out during rehearsal on March 1.

Olivia Hoffman, Mrs. Susan James, and I recently traveled to McDowell Intermediate High School for the PMEA Region 2 Chorus Festival, one that will surely be remembered by all who attended. In fact, no one could have anticipated the random events that would unfold over the next few days.

The first day was relatively normal. We arrived and practiced for a bit before being sent off for auditions. Each section went to a separate holding room to wait for the auditions to begin. When we entered the audition room, we had to sing a scale and two selections from our music we had been practicing for over a month. One of the pieces we had to sing for the audition was in German. When the results were announced, Olivia placed seventeenth chair and I was thirteenth, both out of 20.

After dinner we resumed practicing, and around 8:30 p.m., the power went out. Surprisingly, the 165 teenagers sitting on the stage didn’t panic or move. We all calmly got out our phones and turned them on, using the flashlights to illuminate our music. It was a truly remarkable sight to see. The guest conductor somehow got a glow stick and used it to conduct the choir, allowing practice to continue for the rest of the night.

After practice, the choir was split into the four sections: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, and each section got a bus back to the hotel. Due to the two hour delay, everyone had to be out of the hotel by 10 a.m. Every bus except the tenor bus was loaded and sent to the school, but ours was nowhere to be seen. The entire time we waited for the bus to come, all 35 tenors stood watching the television in the lobby, screaming what the captions said.

On Saturday, we started back to the school, ready for the concert. We made it halfway down Peach Street and then had to go back to pick up the sopranos because their bus broke down. On our way back, the road was blocked by a semi, which led to a lot of remarks from the tenors as a whole bunch of cars attempted to make their way around it, many without success. The concert went off as scheduled, thankfully, and we all headed home.

And we agreed that even though nothing that happened was planned, there were plenty of memories made that weekend.  

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