SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — A celebrated vocal group from Oakwood University in Alabama came to San Francisco to perform at the Third Baptist Church Sunday. Despite being involved in a horrendous, fiery crash Saturday morning, their concert will be held as planned.
Just before 1 a.m. Saturday, a bus carrying the Oakwood University Aeolians collided with an SUV and burst into flames on Highway 101 in South San Francisco. The choir had just landed at San Francisco International Airport and was on the way to a Union Square hotel at the time of the accident.
Cars trying to swerve around a stalled car in the center divide triggered the accident. As cars scattered across the road, a Lincoln Navigator plowed into the back of the bus, killing the driver in the SUV.
Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand, the director of the choir said, “That’s when it really started to blaze. We want to keep that family in prayer.”
All 18 students and 2 staff members were able to get off the bus before it was engulfed in flames.
Dr. Ferdinand added that everyone was, “Shaken up, very much so but thankful we lost things and not lives.”
Members of the Aeolians were able to heal by using their voices. Hours after the crash, they were singing again at the Philadelphian Seventh Day Adventist church in San Francisco.
Reverend Amos Brown of the Third Baptist Church invited the choir back to San Francisco for a concert. While members of the choir are still dealing with rattled nerves, they will continue to perform.
Rev. Brown says the choir is determined to keep singing. “That represents strength. They know how to triumph over tragedy and they are able to make beauty from ashes.”
The members of the choir lost all of their personal belongings in the fire but the Bay Area was quick to help. The San Francisco Police Officers Association was one of the first to step up with a generous donation, providing items such as clothing to the choir.
Oakwood University is a historically black Seventh-day Adventist college in Huntsville, Alabama. The Aeolians have performed at the White House and the Kennedy Center.