This choir director received the surprise of a lifetime.

Love is a powerful emotion, especially when it touches other people. It also comes in many different shapes and forms, and even though some may try to judge it, at the end of the day love is love.

One middle school choir director had that message drilled into his very core on the day of his wedding rehearsal when he received the surprise of a lifetime from his students.

Guarding His Personal Life

students and their teacher

A Massachusetts middle school choir teacher named Christopher Landis loved teaching his kids. He was also beloved by the students, and many of them got to know him during their time together. So when a man started coming by to see Landis on a regular basis, the kids were curious about who he was.

“That’s Joe, he’s my friend,” Landis would reply. In reality though, Joe Michienzie was Landis’ fiancé. Landis was just afraid to tell his students the truth because he was scared they would judge him or that it would upset their parents.

Still, kids are smarter than we sometimes give them credit for and it didn’t take long for them to figure out that Michienzie was more than a pal. When their parents learned about the situation, they formulated a plan.

A Memorable Rehearsal

On the day of the engaged couple’s wedding rehearsal, they held a brunch. There, Landis noticed people were pulling out their phones, but he wasn’t sure why. That’s when he received the surprise of a lifetime: his students began filing in.

“I saw the first student come in and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness,’” Landis explained to InsideEdition. “I don’t think it hit me until all of these students came in and they were smiling and all dressed up. Then I started crying, and they started crying.”

According to the publication, Michienzie was in on the surprise. The parents had contacted him after learning about his engagement to their kids’ teacher, and they asked if they could get the students to perform.

A Moment of Acceptance

Needless to say, Landis was shocked. He had no idea the kids knew about his relationship, let alone the fact that the parents and his fiancé had been secretly working for months together on an epic surprise.

It wasn’t over there, though. Once inside, the kids sang a version of All You Need Is Love by The Beatles. It was the reminder Landis needed that love is love, and not only was there love between him and his fiancé, but his students loved him for who he was as well.

“I felt like when the kids came to sing they were basically saying, ‘It’s OK. We know who Joe is.’ So now I say, ‘Joe, my husband,’” Landis added.

Always Be Yourself

The best way to be authentically happy in life is to be yourself and, as hard as it might be at times, to trust that others will accept you for who you are. That’s the powerful lesson behind this beautiful story, which reminds us that sometimes we’re scared to show ourselves to others for fear of judgment.

But, by living in the moment, being true to ourselves, not judging others for who they are, and leading by example, good people do come into our lives. The world isn’t perfect, but by showing the type of kindness and acceptance that Landis showed to his kids, his kids reciprocated it tenfold.

In the end, he learned that it’s okay to be himself, just as he taught his kids that it’s okay for them to be their true selves, too.