Chicago Choir Caught in Nashville Flooding

Morgan Park High School students took part in Heritage Choral Festival

By Natalie Martinez
|  Thursday, May 6, 2010  |  Updated 8:15 PM CDT
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South Side choir caught in Nashville flooding calmed frightened evacuees.

South Side choir caught in Nashville flooding calmed frightened evacuees.

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Members of a South Side high school choir ended up being the calm during the storm for many evacuees caught in last week's flooding in Nashville.

Students from Morgan Park High School headed south last Thursday for a choral festival in Nashville and were supposed to head home Sunday, but Mother Nature had other plans.

More than 13 inches of pounding rain came down on Nashville last weekend.  The Cumberland River, which winds through the heart of the city, spilled over its banks, cresting at about 12 feet above flood stage.  Thousands of people in Tennessee moved to emergency shelters and even more were without power.

The Morgan Park students were forced to leave their hotel rooms, abandoning their costumes and personal belongings, and headed for higher ground.

"When we went to the upstairs, to the ballroom, we sang, and people were like, 'Wow,' recalled choral director Gabrielyn Watson-Foster.  "And when we went to the high school, somebody said, 'Are you those Angelic-voice kids?  Can you sing for us again?'  And they sang and everybody was hushed while we sang, regardless of what was going on."

A day later, and with a second-place finish in the Heritage Choral Festival behind them, they were able to make the trek back to Illinois.

The students said they didn't fully realize until they got home on Monday how much danger they'd been in.

"We saw pictures of where our rooms were and we were on the bottom floor, so, like, our whole room was covered in water," said senior Zachary Jackson.

The group said their hearts go out to those that were left behind.

"It was life-changing; very life-changing," said Briana Bonner.  "And I can actually say that I was part of a natural disaster."

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