By Chuck Stewart Jr.
Newburgh - Since coming in fifth place on NBC’s "America’s Got Talent" competition, the "Voices of Glory" have been busy. The singing siblings, Michael II, Avery and Nadia Cole of Highland have been trying to balance their public appearance schedule with "normal" things, like school and friends.
Last Thursday, the group was honored by Bishop Woody and the House of Refuge congregation.
People gathered and waited patiently. Then, Bishop Woody announced, "The group was delayed getting to the celebration because they were in an accident. They will be here shortly."
The "Voices of Glory," along with mother Felicia, father Michael Sr. and uncle Gerard, were rear-ended at a stop light on Route 9W. The woman was arrested at the scene after she failed a field sobriety test given by state troopers, according to Michael Cole, Sr. "I was in shock," Cole said. "I couldn’t believe we were hit by a drunk driver after all this family has been through." He stated the woman also had a small child in the front seat at the time of the accident.
Gerard Cole said, "It just reminds us how quickly this can all be taken away from you."
Bishop Woody, in his welcoming remarks said, "Our focus is to just celebrate their paths. When you see these children, you have to realize that they have parents somewhere that have instilled some good values in them."
Woody recounted why the Cole children began singing. "Three young people, motivated by their love for their mother, Felicia Cole. They began singing to her while she was in a coma (after being hit by a drunk driver) to encourage her to be strong. To let her know we love you, we need you, don’t leave us." He concluded, "What power there is in singing."
City of Newburgh Mayor Nicholas Valentine presented the group with a certificate of recognition. The mayor and his wife, Sue Valentine, were avid watchers of the show. The group sung at the mayor’s inauguration two years ago. Valentine joked, saying, "It’s probably going to be a little more expensive to get the ‘Voices of Glory’ to perform . . . and it should." The mayor noted the great joy the group has brought to all people in the Hudson Valley. "You are a gift of the Hudson Valley. You are a statement of what young people can do. And the City of Newburgh loves you," Valentine said.
Consuelo Hill, who has been a vocal coach for the "Voices of Glory" called the trio a gift from God. She said there have been four important moments in her life: the birth of her three children and the "Voices of Glory." "I’m so proud that they came in fifth out of 400,000 contestants in the national competition," Hill said.
Michael Cole II thanked everyone for their support on behalf of his siblings. "This is very special. The experience we went through and to come back to such a warm welcome we thank you," he said.
The group then performed several songs, including "God Bless America."