Hillsmere pupils honor Dr. King in song and skit

February 08, 1993|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

The fourth-grade chorus of Hillsmere Elementary performed in front of a live audience for the very first time Friday, in tribute to the memory of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Beginning with the song "America," about 60 fourth-grade students, wearing their best white shirts, green bow ties and dark slacks or skirts, recounted the life of the slain civil rights leader.

The children were scheduled to present their concert on Dr. King's life last month, when the country celebrated his birthday. But music teacher Jeanne Fogle became ill, and the concert had to be postponed.

But Friday, Mrs. Fogle stood in front of her choir and led students through a rousing presentation that included song, dance, hand movements, audience participation and mini-skits.

Students took their audience on a trip from Dr. King's birth, when he was christened Michael. It wasn't until age 4 that Michael became Martin, 9-year-old Kendall Dorsey said.

Other students recounted what life was like for Dr. King as a child. They portrayed white children not allowed to play with a black youngster, or shoe salesmen not allowed to wait on him when he sat in the whites-only section of a store.

Others recounted Dr. King as a student, always studying history. Visitors Henry David Thoreau and Mahatma Ghandhi stopped by to tell how Dr. King followed their principles of civil disobedience and nonviolence.

Choir members also portrayed the many nameless people who boycotted the buses under Dr. King's direction.

Between the history lessons the students presented, they also entertained their audience with songs: "This Train is Bound For Glory," "He's Got The Whole World in His Hands," "Do Lord Remember Me," and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Near the end of the performance, 10-year-old Wade Cansler recited some of the text from Dr. King's 1963 "I Have A Dream" speech.

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood," Wade recited.

There were no red hills of clay in the school, but a black woman and a white man, sat side by side and wiped tears from their eyes.

And Wade shouted, "Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

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