The orchestra students at Miami Coral Reef High School in Florida recently left judges in tears and audience members inspired. The school's concert orchestra was performing in Tampa for the Florida State Music Program Assessment when the power suddenly went out just minutes into the group's first number. Incredibly, instead of stopping, the orchestra continued playing. And playing.
People in the audience, along with the backstage crew, took out their cellphones to light the room while the students played on.
Neither a beat or note was missed.
When the orchestra finished the emotional Serenade Triste over seven minutes later, the audience cheered wildly.
It was then that the auditorium was evacuated and the group was not able to perform its second piece.
Dr. Lee Stone, Coral Reef's Director of Orchestras, said afterwards that two of the panel's four judges were moved to tears.
The University of Iowa judge shared his feelings on his comments sheet.
"You totally inspired me! I'm in love with the wonderful spirit of Coral reef HS Orchestra! 'Serenade Triste' is my new favourite tune. I cried in the dark as you performed w/ heart."
And he wasn't alone.
"Just saw the most amazing thing-lights went out in the middle of the Coral Reef performance of Serenade Triste," the University of North Carolina judge said. "The Florida State MPA-kids kept playing-audience members took phone flashlights on stage so they could play the EIGHT minutes of the piece-and, the crowd went wild!"
Not surprisingly, the Coral Reef concert orchestra received a much-deserved superior rating.
"Your young men and women truly went above and beyond all expectations in performance, deportment, and courage." Stone wrote in an email to school parents.