A children’s choir from Massachusetts is proving that hate and bigotry have no place in the education system by shocking their choir director with a surprise performance at his wedding rehearsal.
Christopher Landis is the director for the kid’s choir at Hingham Middle School in Massachusetts, and he also happens to be gay.
Landis has found love with his long-time partner and now-husband, Joe Michienzie, and even though he did his best to hide the nature of his relationship and engagement to Joe from his students…well, clearly he failed.
The kids knew exactly who Joe was to their beloved choir director.
To be fair, Joe knew that the kids in his husband-to-be’s choir knew more than they were letting on regarding the two’s relationship, which set the stage for the amazing moment they were about to give their choir director.
According to an interview with The Patriot Ledger, Joy Foraste and Margit Foley (both parents of 8th-grade girls in the choir) sought out Landis’s then-fiance Joe to get the stamp of approval for their special surprise.
“We reached out to his fiance Joe because I wasn’t really sure how he’d react, but he was immediately on board. He said he had also been trying to figure out how to incorporate the students because they mean so much to Mr. Landis.”
Clearly, everyone involved wanted to send an important message to the awesome director; All You Need Is Love!
Getting the message across while keeping it under wraps until the wedding rehearsal was no small feat, either.
After Foraste and Foley approached Joe they began getting their plans underway. They still had to acquire the permission of the parents of each student involved in the surprise, of which they were hoping to have at least 20 kids.
To get a headcount on parents who wanted their kids to be a voice to the message, Foley explains they shot out an email to 60 parents in the hopes of getting their 20 singers but were blown away at the overwhelming amount of positive responses from parents who know Landis as a teacher.
“We had no idea what to expect, but instead of the 20 we were hoping for, we had over 50 kids. It’s such a testament to Mr. Landis as a teacher and as a figure in their lives.”
With those kinds of numbers, this pop-up performance was going to be the surprise of a lifetime.
In order to prepare for the big day, the 50 kids in the choir worked extra hard at making sure they not only nailed the famous Beatles song, All You Need Is Love, but also kept it a secret from Mr. Landis the entire time.
Organizing such a large choir to deliver a beautiful performance in such a small amount of time takes a lot of work but the kids took it in stride, setting aside time out of their busy weekend schedules to meet for practice.
To keep things on the down-low they met with Dona Naher, another accomplished chorus teacher in Norwell whose kids can frequently be found in Ladis’s class as well.
Beginning one week before Thanksgiving, the kids began meeting Naher to practice the song at Norwell’s James Library every single Sunday up until D-day on December 21st.
Coming from a school that prides itself on teaching children the power of kindness, positivity, and pursuing their personal growth, it’s no surprise that the kids who joined in the surprise performance for Mr. Landis were more than happy to let the choir director know just how much he means to them and the community.
Landis’s wedding rehearsal brunch was to be held in Plymouth on Dec. 21st, over 30 miles away from Higham Middle School, but they weren’t letting that stop their message.
Instead, all 50 kids were scheduled for an early release so they could board a school bus driven by one of the parents to head out for the rehearsal.
With Christopher and Joe’s wedding rehearsal well underway, as the kids start filing into the room one-by-one you can see the look of confusion on Landis’s face.
As he begins to recognize that the flood of kids are his choir students, he immediately gets choked up as he realizes what’s about to happen.
Landis, holding back tears as the choir burst into the first verses of the song, was definitely getting his message.
According to Foraste, the special moment was emotionally charged not just for Christopher and Joe, but for the kids as well.
“It was so wonderful for the kids to see him with his family and his close friends, and they saw him as a person, not just their teacher. They saw how much it meant to him. He immediately started crying and the kids started crying. It’s something they’ll never forget.”
From the look on Christopher Landis’s face throughout the entire song in the video below, you can see just how much it really meant to him to get to share such a beautiful and important moment in his life with the children he teaches.
At the end of the video, Landis proclaims, “These are my kids!” with a deep sense of pride in his voice.
With over one million views on Facebook alone, there is absolutely no question that the Hingham Middle School Spectral Chorus got their message to their beloved choir director across, and he couldn’t be happier they did!
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H/T: Inside Edition