HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Sharing their national pride and musical talent, the College of the Bahamas concert choir made an unscheduled performance at the Bahamian consulate in downtown Miami after their three vans were burglarized.
"They didn't break the doors, but they were able to literally pick the locks," choir conductor Audrey Wright said.
The incident happened Wednesday night after two cultural concerts. The group said their three vans were broken into while they had dinner at Dave & Buster's in Hollywood, and the thieves got away with a lot of money.
"About $5,700 worth of money in the vans," Wright said.
The famous concert choir has performed internationally, even at Lincoln Center in New York.
"Does this leave a bad taste in your mouth about South Florida?" Local 10 News reporter Todd Tongen asked choir member Courtney Newbold.
"No, no, because even in our own country things like this happen," Newbold said. "We are trying to, you know, just stay positive about everything."
"We know there are a lot of wonderful people, but you will always find that one segment of society that does not want to work but wants to prey on other people," Wright said.
Nine out of the 35 choir members had their passports stolen, so the general consul worked to issue emergency passports and was given a performance by the choir as a thank you.
While the thieves might have stolen the choir's valuables, they said they can't steal their spirit and desire to share Bahamian music.
"Never! You can never steal a true Bahamian's spirit," Jerrald Storr, who had his passport stolen, said. "It was sad at the moment but we overcome. We are Bahamians, so everywhere we go we adapt and survive. And we forgive them as a country."
Thursday night, a Local 10 News viewer named Jesse Walker said he wanted to help. He spoke to the group by phone.
"First, I want to say I am sorry for your misfortune. That does not represent the spirit of the people of South Florida," Walker said.
Walker said he plans to meet the choir Friday and donate money.
"We are blessed and we do thank you from the bottom of our hearts," Wright said.
Anyone with information about the burglary is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.