Tuesday, October 16, 2012

BCC: A College Story by Jessica Newman

100% of BCC Alums go onto college or university making it clear that BCC has an influence on life direction. This is summed up by the writing below that was used in a college admission essay.

It was a January day, white and cold.  I hurried up the steps and opened the heavy, wooden doors, entering the warm glow of the Jordan Hall lobby.  It was crucial for this concert to be spectacular because it was going to be on live television stations across the country, but it wasn’t until I opened the doors that led into the intimate, dark-wooded hall at the New England Conservatory that I felt the real importance of our success.  Hanging above the stage, flooded with golden light, were six banners: one with Martin Luther King, Jr. smiling, his arm around his wife, and one with him marching in the pouring rain, a newspaper covering his head as he protested.  In another banner, he was waving from a balcony to a sea of people, and in the next one, he was marching again, a mile-long parade following his lead.  Two more banners were above these four: in one, he was in the middle of a speech with his fist pumped in protest, and finally, dead center was a beautiful portrait of the man with his eyes glittering, serious and determined – the eyes of a visionary.  I looked up at him and knew that this concert was not being performed for fame or recognition, but rather, for the man that made the Boston Children’s Chorus (BCC) possible.

I gained a greater appreciation for the dreamer

Every year, BCC holds an annual Martin Luther King, Jr. concert at the New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall to honor the man who changed the way Americans, and the world, look at race.  It is because of MLK that my chorus strives to break down barriers in the Greater Boston area and around the globe and unite people of all different backgrounds.  To be honest, before my time with the chorus, I knew Martin Luther King, Jr. was an inspiring man with a beautiful vision, but I never truly considered how his actions affected me.  After my first MLK concert in 2011, the first time I looked up at those banners, I gained a greater appreciation for the dreamer – I formed a connection with him, and I finally could see the impact his vision has made on my life.

            This day was life-changing.

Because I was new to the choir, it was the first time I truly made connections with my fellow singers, and it was the first time I could see the significance of King’s actions.  My best friends in the choir are black, Brazilian, white, Muslim, Asian, every race and ethnicity you can imagine, and without MLK and the Boston Children’s Chorus, my relationships with these amazing singers would not exist.  When I put on the performance uniform – a red jacket and black pants – I no longer see whether the person dressed like me is black or white; I see a person who has the same passion for singing that I do.  When I look out at my conductor, Anthony Trecek-King, I do not see an African-American man.  All I see is the embodiment of joy, exuberance, passion, and dedication.  

We can come together in the common language of music.

Singing popular songs like “Lean on Me” and “In the Name of Love,” spirituals like Moses Hogan’s “My Soul’s Been Anchored,” and gospel anthems like “On my Way” on that Monday in January, I finally understood why music is such an important part of my life: it unites people.  Even though every nation has a distinct language or a set of beliefs that may differ from mine, we can come together in the common language of music.  I thank the Boston Children’s Chorus and Martin Luther King, Jr. for showing me that human differences are something to be celebrated, not rejected.

That concert also showed me that the only thing I want to do in life is sing, for it not only brings me joy, but it also brings people together.  I want to continue the MLK and Boston Children’s Chorus legacy of uniting people from all walks of life, and I believe music is the way I can do that.  I thrive on these moments, like the annual MLK concert, when I know I am making others proud, when I can be selfish and selfless all at once.  I sing for myself, for the sense of accomplishment, for the challenge, but also for the chance to make others smile and honor those who have allowed me to live a better life.  The Boston Children’s Chorus has opened my eyes to the power of music, and I will try to use that power to continue bringing people together.

No comments: