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Grand Rapids ensemble one of 10 selected to perform during Pearl Harbor 80th commemoration

Grand Rapids ensemble one of 10 selected to perform during Pearl Harbor 80th commemoration
Posted at 9:57 PM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-07 14:36:30-05

(WXMI) — As people across the country commemorate the Pearl Harbor attacks on Tuesday, a singing group from West Michigan will be in Hawaii to perform for the survivors, veterans, and visitors in attendance. 

The Grand Rapids chapter of the Sweet Adelinesare one of 10 choral ensembles invited to sing at the 80thanniversary commemoration concert series

“We’ve been practicing, learning 15 new songs for about the last year,” said Colleen Pierson, a five-year member. “This has been such a once in a lifetime experience.” 

Pierson estimates thousands of hours went into this week’s performance. 

The group arrived over the weekend and has put on two shows already, including one aboard the USS Missouri. 

On Tuesday, the Sweet Adelines will sing on the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum’s famous Hangar 79. 

According to performance organizers, Hangar 79 us an 80,000 square foot hangar that features blue glass windows still riddled with bullet holes from the attack. During World War II, the hangar was a maintenance and engine repair facility filled with, “fighters, bombers, and patrol aircraft based in Pearl Harbor or en rout to the front lines.” 

“We are producing a sound that I don’t remember us ever producing before,” said Pierson.

Pierson says it’s a trip personal to most of the women too.

“This is a tribute to not only people here that we’re singing too, but members of our family that have served our country,” said Pierson. “It’s very, very emotional for all of us.”

The group hopes the performances echo honor to America’s heroes.

“I think music brings everyone back to a place where they can relate,” said Pierson.