By: Jamie Boghosian '18
On November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed into law, a bill which would institute a federal holiday to honor the great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man, known by all, who dedicated his life towards peace and equality. Today, as we do every year, the community of Danvers gathered together at the high school to celebrate his memory and his cause. Several groups including Danvers High School’s own Chamber Singers and Students United for Acceptance (SUFA), joined together to commemorate and continue Dr. King’s work. Other communal groups such as the Danvers Committee for Diversity, Danvers Board of Selectmen, Danvers School Committee, North Shore Unitarian Universalist Singing Group, and the Follow Hymn Singers came to celebrate.
In addition to these older groups, there was also influence from the younger children through the abundance of artwork hung on walls and displayed throughout the space of the atrium. All of the artwork shown was made by Danvers students in grades 3 through 12 with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the inspiration. Every piece of art was original, filled with colors, faces, and designs that mirrored the spirit of the ceremony.
The ceremony began with a few speakers, sharing their words of inspiration and welcoming everyone to the event. Members from the Danvers Committee for Diversity, Danvers Board of Selectmen, and Danvers School Committee spoke and soon after, the Chamber Singers were called to the stage to perform. We sang three songs: “Imagine” by John Lennon, a gospel number “Shine on Me”, and “Make Them Hear You” from the musical “Ragtime”. Each song captured the message of the day, hope for a bright and diverse future.
When we were finished with our repertoire, Mrs. Ambrozavitch took the stage along with SUFA members to recite some of Dr. King’s inspirational quotes. The room was silent as the students shared Dr. King’s impactful words.
When SUFA was finished, The North Shore Unitarian Universalist singers stepped up to the risers to perform their set, singing powerful yet upbeat and inspirational songs that featured a tambourine player.
The last musical group, The Follow Hymn Singers made their way to the risers to sing. At the end of their set, they invited Chamber Singers, The North Shore Unitarian Universalist Singers, and other audience members to sing along in “This Little Light of Mine” and “Let There be Peace on Earth”. The audience rose to their feet to sing and clap along and the Unitarian Universalist Singers brought the tambourine.
The unity of the groups on stage echoed Dr. Martin Luther King’s own message of unity and peace and brought a fitting end to a very uplifting ceremony. It was a day where everybody could come together to share music, art, and inspiration, all while celebrating one of our country’s most influential figures.