Watch CBS News

"It was just something amazing": Choir students wow with impromptu national anthem performance

Choir students impress with national anthem rendition
Choir students impress with annual national anthem rendition 02:51

Louisville, Kentucky — Every year, 600 of the best high school singers from across Kentucky gather to practice and perform at Louisville's convention center. 

All of these booming voices that make up Kentucky's All State Choir have to stay somewhere. For that reason, the Hyatt Regency offers earplugs, knowing a gross violation of quiet hours is not only likely, it's a 35-year tradition. 

Late one night in 1987, a small group of kids, who were still wired from practice, gathered along the hotel's balconies. They chatted and waved to each other. 

"There's just certain things that happen in life that leave a memory on you," choir director Brett Burton, who was a student at the time, told CBS News. "It was just something amazing." 

Today, the same wonder unfolds in much the same way. The waving, the ruckus and then, out of nowhere, the hum. 

"Someone sings a pitch," one of the singers said. 

"It can be anyone from anywhere," another said. 

"Eventually, the entire hotel catches on," explained another. 

And then they're all singing the national anthem. 

Some say it's the acoustics of the hotel's atrium. Others say it's the sheer volume of talent. But whatever the reason, one thing is clear: whoever opted for earplugs made a grave mistake. 

There's no planning, practice or adult direction. This is all kids, from all walks of life, who every year make it a priority to fill this hotel atrium with a riveting reminder — that we are not a nation of soloists, but a chorus of shared values that, when joined together, resonate like nothing the world has ever heard. 

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us:   

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.