Huron A Capella Choir performs despite storm

Austin Aldrich, Senior Staff Writer


Four months of work, countless guest clinicians and the opportunity to represent their school at a prestigious statewide event. All of this work by the Huron A Cappella Choir, was brought down overnight by eight inches of snow.

From Jan. 16-18, the annual Michigan Music Conference (MMC), is held at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids Michigan. This convention is for music teachers, administrators, students, and guest speakers from all over the state and in 2019, attendance was over 9,000 people. One of only 10 choirs selected from across the state, Huron’s A Cappella Choir was set to perform on saturday Jan. 18. But the night before, the weather was looking so severe, that the superintendent preemptively decided against letting the choir drive through the snowstorm on saturday morning. 

“I learned after school from the principal, who learned from the superintendent that we couldn’t go,” choir director Kent Wattleworth said. “I sent a message to everybody telling them everything is canceled and we even had people thinking about driving up Friday night and staying overnight. Unfortunately [the school administration] said ‘no.’” The A Capella choir at Huron meets third hour and consists of 32 members. 

“It was really disappointing because we had worked so hard,” said choir president Anastasia Papageorgiou. “Because of the snow, we couldn’t show the work that we put into our performance.” The hope of being able to perform was decreasing as Friday night went on until an alternative idea was proposed. 

“When I told one of the people at MMC we weren’t coming, they asked if we wanted to try [live video streaming] from Ann Arbor,” said Mr. Wattleworth. “I started calling around and figuring out how to make this work and it looked like Facebook Live Stream was the best bet.” 

After a busy night of communicating between students, parents and Huron choir director Bonnie Kidd, a solution was reached. The Huron A Cappella Choir would perform at the First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor in front of a camera that would Facebook live stream their performance to MMC in Grand Rapids. 

 “I called Ms. Kidd and she knew she could get us in here for free because she conducts the choir here,” Wattleworth said. “We even used this as the performance space for our farewell trip for Ireland. It’s been kind of a crazy week but once we got set up this morning and did a few test runs I felt good about it.” 

When it was time to perform, Wattleworth received the go-ahead text from organizers in Grand Rapids and the concert began. 

“We were really happy about [the concert],” Papageorgiou said. “I think it worked out even better than going not only because the acoustics of the church made our sound resonate a little more, but also because it was safer not to go. I think we had a little bit of a morale boost, in a way by trying to just do our performance and do the best we could.” As a part of the program, the A Cappella choir performed an arrangement of Jacob Naverud’s “The Song We Sing” with the Jackson Middle School Honors Choir. Being in Grand Rapids, the Jackson choir sang with the live stream from Ann Arbor.

“Everybody I talked to in Grand Rapids said that the live stream actually worked out,” Wattleworth said. “They could hear the sound ok and Mr. Kidd has an iPhone 11 and I guess that you can use it for really good video.” After a successful concert, emotion could be felt around the room by all. 

“It was honestly it was kind of like a flashback to last year when we performed in that same church before Ireland,” Papageorgiou said. “All of us started crying a little bit like during the last song because it was kind of bittersweet. We had made it through.”