Oakwood Aeolians reflect one year after bus crash

Published: May. 19, 2020 at 7:30 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - When you combine the emotions felt from a deadly bus crash with the separation and isolation of coronavirus, you've got a message in the music from an award-winning choir.

It has been an unenviable year for the Oakwood University Aeolians.

May 2019, the choir was involved in a deadly, five-vehicle crash in California. One driver was killed. The Aeolians’ bus went up in smoke, along with their belongings.

By May 2020, the coronavirus was in full swing. Oakwood was closed. Graduation was canceled. Those combined voices went home and went solo...but not silent.

Stephen Murphy, assistant professor of music at Oakwood, was on that bus in 2019.

“We have to keep our hope burning in us that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

Music carried choir members through the crash, past the crash and now would carry them through COVID-19.

Chad Lupoe was on that bus too and is now back at home in California because of coronaviru.

“We shall overcome. We shall overcome personal hurdles that we have put on our lives on ourselves," he said.

Scattered across the country and in the Caribbean, in five days time and aided by technology, they came together again to make music....with a lasting message.

“We shall overcome the hardships we are going thru right now and we shall overcome this virus, I want people to feel hope,” Lupoe went on to say.

Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand is Oakwood University’s director of choirs. He recognizes that this year since the crash and now dealing with coronavirus is almost inconceivable.

“These are scary times. Hopefully, we can give a slice and glimmer of hope in all this chaos," Ferdinand said.

Lupoe went on to share that “we are all subject to bad times, but the bad times are not the end. We shall overcome everything that we go through.”

The Aeolians call this a video gift.

Ferdinand believes from this time forward, we will see fundamental changes in music. Everything from what composers score to what listeners choose, all because of this pandemic.

Time will tell.

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