World-renowned church choir survives fatal fiery bus crash on 101 in S. SF

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By Bay City News Service

Several members of The Aeolians of Oakwood University choir were slightly injured in a fatal crash on U.S. Highway 101 in San Mateo County early Saturday morning but will still perform Sunday in San Francisco, according to a choir spokesman.

Members of the internationally renowned choir were riding in the tour bus that was involved in the crash along with four other vehicles at 12:43 a.m. on the highway just south of Sierra Point in Brisbane, according to a news release from Singer Associates, Inc., which is publicizing the choir's Northern California visit.%INLINE%

"Did you see that bus?" Rev. Amos Brown asked in amazement. Brown, of Third Baptist Church, spoke with KTVU over the phone Saturday. "They have an indomitable will and will rise to the occassion," he said. He had personally asked the choir to return after they made their debut performance in San Francisco last year. %INLINE%

"Last year's performance blew everyone away," Rev. Brown said. 

The tour bus, operated by Peninsula Tours, was carrying 18 passengers, according to California Highway Patrol spokesman Bert Diaz.

The choir's spokesperson said while everyone on the bus was okay, their clothes were burned in the fiery crash and they are asking for clothing donations. The University tweeted information on how to give to the choir, including their website or you can also Text to give: OAKS to 56512 Area of Support: Aeolians

The choir, organized by the late Dr. Eva B. Dykes in 1946, is scheduled to perform at Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister St., at 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

Aeolians, known for its repertoire of choral music that ranges from the Baroque era to Negro spirituals to contemporary gospel, made its Northern California debut at Third Baptist last year.

They even made it out to Philadelphian Seventh Day Adventist Church for a Saturday morning performance. The church is located at 2520 Bush Street in San Francisco.  

The fatal crash victim was a driver or passenger of one of the four vehicles involved in the crash, Diaz said. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

All northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 101 were closed for several hours following the crash. 

KTVU's Andre Torrez contributed to this report.