Suburban Show Choir Wins Competition Despite Losing Costumes in Bus Fire

The group's competitors helped the team, giving the girls shoes, makeup and hairspray

When a bus fire destroyed the costumes of a west suburban show choir team on their way to a competition, the group’s director decided that the show must go on.

“Our director had kind of stood up and made the decision that we would still perform and that was a great decision,” said Emily Bradley, a member of the Esprit Show Choir at Wheaton Warrenville South High School. “We were all so excited.”

This past weekend, the girls were headed to a competition in Wisconsin when their bus caught on fire, according to the group.

“All of a sudden we heard a noise and it sounded like the bus tire had maybe popped we weren't quite sure,” said Bradley.

“The bus started to become hazy on the inside and slowly just started filling up with smoke to the point where I couldn't see like a foot in front of my face,” said Cora McVey, another member of the show choir.

Everything on the bus was destroyed, including the team’s belongings and costumes for the competition.

Back home, parents and teachers jumped in to help, scrambling to come up with alternate uniforms, according to the show choir. Competitors also chipped in, giving the girls shoes, makeup, and hairspray.

“It was just unbelievable the amount of support from even our classics groups and the other schools that gave us things,” said McVey.

Despite losing everything in the bus fire, the Esprit Show Choir went on to win the whole competition.

“This could have turned all kinds of ways that were horrible,” said Dave Claypool, Principal at Wheaton Warrenville South High School. “And things, now looking back, couldn't have played out any better, and obviously the cherry on top was the girls having the success that they did.”

Along with a big trophy, the team brought home a story they’ll be telling for years to come.

“I think it really brought our group closer which I'm very happy for as my senior year having the sense of family within my favorite activity,” said McVey.

The Esprit Show Choir will travel to Ohio for their next competition next week with new uniforms.

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