FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --The Fresno City College Choir that was touring France during the Nice terror attack two weeks ago is now back home.
Thrust into the path of terror the group of 20 singers felt much the same fear as their French hosts. After experiencing UC Merced, San Bernardino, and Orlando at home, they were now on the road to the exact place the attackers struck on Bastille Day.
"It was hurtful. It was a little scary, but it was also motivating, you know. Because we just accidentally ended up there with the music that we did," said Nicholas Duque, City Singers.
The choir's repertoire for the international choral festival included songs of faith and death, the afterlife, and peace. And as they crossed southern France in the wake of the attack, "Let there be Peace on Earth" especially seemed to resonate with a country in mourning and a choir feeling their pain.
"Really singing it to people who needed it. They needed to hear it and we needed to sing it and that changed everything. The song was a different song at that point," said Kenneshae Murray, City Singers.
Nice was their final destination, and the plan was for just a couple days of fun on the beach. Instead, the students found themselves at a somber memorial, performing an impromptu concert.
"In those moments, we were family with every single one of those people," said Duque.
One French woman's review confirmed the message was coming through in a shared language.
"She said 'happy' and she turned around and walked away and I turned around and started crying," said Julie Dana, Fresno City College Choral Director.
The singers did a lot of crying themselves, but they tell me they've never had better audiences and never felt more connected to the music.