Boston Celebrates MLK Day with Youth Symphony Orchestras

By Priscilla Liguori 1/18/2016

Hundreds of people celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by listening to young musicians play at Faneuil Hall.

Priscilla Liguori/WEBN-TV
Priscilla Liguori/WEBN-TV

The Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSO) performed at the Day of Service and Celebration of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. January 18.

Attendee Desmond Pattz explained what brought him to the event. “The great joy of being in a diverse, multicultural, multiracial [event] and actually to look back, to look forward, and the promise of King’s great dream,” he said.

Looking forward for Boston involves the city’s youth. The musicians who performed were from BYSO’s Intensive Community Program ranging from 5 to 18 years old.

Priscilla Liguori/WEBN-TV
Priscilla Liguori/WEBN-TV

Audience members sat back, closed their eyes, and reflected as they listened to the children play a variety of spiritual and classical pieces.

Pattz said, “I always look forward to seeing diverse musicians.  I enjoy seeing the young people play.”

Stephanie Stojanovic, who works at BYSO and volunteered at the event, talked about the performers. “They rehearse every week and they play every year at this particular concert,” she said. “It’s one of the highlights in their performance calendar. This is a very prestigious event.”

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Marta Zurad conducted the BYSO.

The city of Boston, the Museum of African American History, and BYSO work together to put on the Day of Service and Celebration.

While society’s challenges and successes were discussed at the event, the focus stayed on Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream for America.

Civil rights activist, filmmaker, and MIT scholar Topper Carew said in his keynote address, “He was sent here as an angel and left here as a saint.”

Courtesy: Priscilla Liguori
Priscilla Liguori/WEBN-TV

Mayor Walsh said, “While this day is rightfully set aside to formally recognize Dr. King’s enormous impact and legacy, let us remember to live out the spirit of this day throughout the year so that we can help realize his dream in our community.”

Other speakers and readers at the event included Marita Rivero, Dr. Pam Y. Eddinger, Dr. Emmett G. Price III, and Elizabeth Shaye Firmin.

“I believe that folks come with a lot of pain, a lot of grief, a lot of remorse, but also to be uplifted,” said Pattz. “The present is very much alive and even thinking back about painful historical events, there are still dreams that we are living today.”

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Stojanovic said the commemorative event made Faneuil Hall feel warm on a snowy day. “Obviously it’s cold out but it’s lovely in here. There’s a nice community feel atmosphere.”

Pattz said Boston is embracing the notion to keep Dr. King’s dream alive.

“I’ve seen, on this stage, many actors and actresses inside of the movement that keep this movement alive and make sure diverse voices are still represented,” said Pattz.

This is Boston’s 8th Day of Service and Celebration for Martin Luther King Jr.

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