I have so much to share about my wonderful, super-sized winter break, but I'll save that for another entry. Instead, in honor of MLK Jr. Day, I want to share how I commemorated this memorable man's legacy.
I was invited by a friend at church to volunteer at the 8th Annual Boston Children's Chorus MLK Jr. Tribute. Since I always love volunteering - and HSPH does very little to encourage public service - I was so excited to help out and to hear young children sing! If you've never heard of the choir, they're world-renowned for their diverse makeup and stunning voices. The children ages 7-19 have been featured on TV and have traveled all over the world; they are truly incredible and inspiring.
My volunteering included some odd jobs - such as stuffing programs - and getting to interact with other volunteers including a group of City Year volunteers (including my friend from church). My favorite part was that I got to be a "seat filler" (like they do for the Grammies to make sure that there are no empty seats when the cameras are rolling). In other words, I got to watch the concert for free!
The televised concert, directed by Anthony Trecek-King, started with a beautiful old spiritual "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round." The choral members held picket signs and marched in, adding some dramatic flare to the opening number. It was particularly moving, knowing that Dr. MLK, Jr. himself spoke in this very same venue (the beautiful Jordan Hall of the New England Conservatory) and that someone was sitting in the same seat that I was seated in, listening to the the empowering words of the preacher himself!
After a few other spirituals, Grammy award-winning special guest Patti Austin sung a beautiful duet entitled "Over My Shoulder" with one of the choir members (who had a voice to die for, I might add). If there was one point in the show I thought I'd cry, it was then.
Hosts Kyle Massey (of the Disney Channel's "Corey in the House") and his brother Christopher composed and performed a rap entitled "If I Had a Dream," which talked about the tribulations of African-American leaders today.
Other favorites that the chorus performed included "Lean on Me" and "Ya Gotta Be," as well as the other songs that featured soloists from within the choir.
I'm preparing now to start the first day of a week-long workshop tomorrow, so in superstar student fashion, I do need to go to bed now! Stay tuned for my reflections on my past holiday!!
Mpaka baadaye (Swahili!)