State Choir Rescheduled due to Destructive Tornado


Annabelle Kump

Music N’ Motion practices for their Branson show during Spring Break.

Riley Haworth, Staff Writer

The All-State choir bus trip twisted into a whirlwind when a tornado touched down in Andover, KS on Apr. 29. The state competition was set to take place at Andover Central High School prior to being canceled. 

Senior and Music N’ Motion member Alexis Gerber describes the chaos that went down from beginning to end. According to Gerber, nobody expected the turnout of what happened. 

“It’s started to get super cloudy so we like all rolled up our windows and everything because it started getting really bad,” Gerber said. “The bus was shaking and someone blurted out that we were close to a tornado in Wichita and we were like ‘oh my gosh.’”Mrs. Cole was very calm and the bus driver really helped. We were trying to drive one way and then that was leading into a tornado.”

There was a lot of concern between the students that there was no way they were going to make it to shelter on time. Sophomore and Music N’ Motion member Jackson Morgan explains the terror that they witnessed.

“Kind of once we got in the El Dorado because that’s when the tornado sirens started going off,” Morgan said. “We couldn’t really tell like how close we were to that tornado.”

Bass clarinet Ilyanna Foehrwei along with other members of the band did not fully understand the danger that they were in at the time.

“At first, we just started joking about it. We were actually on our way to the pool when they said that there was a warning, so we were more surprised than scared, I guess. We all just laughed it off. As it was traveling away, we even started going outside and taking pictures of it as it was going the other direction.”

State was rescheduled to Wednesday, May 11, which was the second to last day of school for the seniors. Senior and Music N’ Motion member Abby Cahill was originally one of three soloists chosen to compete at state. 

“We didn’t initially know if the state would get rescheduled because it was so late in the year and such a large event,” Cahill said. “People don’t really have the space or the time this late to reschedule it that fast, but it actually got rescheduled. Instead of taking groups again, we decided to only take soloists.”

This was my very last chance, so it kind of felt like proving myself. I did, and then it got canceled.

— Abby Cahill

With short of a single point, Cahill did not qualify for state her freshman year. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first year they have got to compete again, but unfortunately Cahill declined the offer so she could spend her last few days of her senior year at school. 

“This was my very last chance, so it kind of felt like proving myself. I did, and then it got canceled. That was really disappointing, but I think I’ve come to terms with it. I think I would rather spend one of my last days here instead of out competing.”

Senior and trombone player Matthew Grimm decided to attend state even with the reschedule where he received a one rating. This is the highest rating a soloist can receive. 

“State was different in the amount of tension in the air due to it being rescheduled so fast, along with it being my last day of school,” Grimm said. “I felt much less pressure since there were many cancellations so everything felt somewhat thrown together. I ended up getting a one so it went well.”