Last week, the West Potomac High School Chamber Singers participated in the Anti-Defamation League's Concert Against Hate at the Kennedy Center. This was the third year the group performed for the event.
This year, a few more singers were requested, so Director Ernest Johnson chose six senior women from the Bella Voce select ensemble to participate as well.
"I feel that this is undeniably the most valuable, memorable experience that my singers could have – and to have been requested each year for this powerful tribute to victims of abuse, discrimination, and terrorism in our country is truly an honor," said Johnson in a recent email.
People in attendance received the opportunity to hear real-life stories of four different people who tried to make a difference and made the ultimate sacrifice.
"The message is one that I wish could be heard by everyone - yet at least once a year, a few of my singers have this opportunity. I can only hope that they walk away from the concert forever changed by what they witnessed and heard," Johnson said. "The ADL concert gives my students a message that could change the world – and I hope they can one day assist in the fight against bigotry and hatred in some way, however large or small."
The chorus sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" in tribute to one of the police officers who was a first responder to the 9/11 attack. She saved hundreds that day, but perished, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter who is now a teenager.
The group prepared for the performance by rehearsing the piece in at least five class sessions where the students quickly remembered the song.
Upcoming events for the chorus include their Fall Concert Thursday, Nov. 4, the presentation of Handel's Messiah Dec. 19 and Cabaret Night Jan. 16.