As the Cheng-Gong Junior High School’s string orchestra from Hsinchu, Taiwan, began its performance at a national music competition, the entire venue plunged into darkness.
The orchestra had been competing in the National Student Music Competition on Thursday Mar. 3 when a power outage hit parts of the country.
“We had just played two or three notes, when there was a loud bang, and suddenly all the lights were gone,” the conducting teacher, Cheng Chiao-wen, told @almost.co. “But I didn’t stop, so the students didn’t stop either.”
“I thought the power had tripped temporarily because someone had accidentally flipped a switch or something like that, but because there was a time limit to the competition, I thought we could just try and see if we could keep playing,” she said.
In the darkness, Cheng said she amplified her breathing, a technique commonly used by conductors, to help guide the students through the changes in speed throughout the song.
Although the outage lasted the entire performance, the students successfully played the entirety of 4th movement of Benjamin Britton’s “Simple Symphony Op. 4″.
When the performance was over, even in the dark, Cheng said she couldn’t help but give the students a thumbs up.
A video of the competition has since gone viral on YouTube, garnering more than 210,000 views.
“Although the loud banging noise scared all of us, we were already in competition mode,” Cheng said, adding that the orchestra had established a rapport from rehearsals and training throughout the semesters.
The orchestra, comprised of 40 students from seventh to ninth grade, ended up winning the Excellence Award.
The power failure had been caused by an equipment malfunction at a power plant that caused power outages for 5.49 million households, according to local media.