Boston Children’s Chorus celebrates MLK with ‘Born On The Water’
The Boston Children’s Chorus will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a free, virtual concert debuting on January 17. In “Born on the Water,” over 300 local singers, alongside Massachusetts-born opera star Andrea Baker, will raise their voices in tribute to the civil rights leader. The concert will showcase nine virtual choir videos connected by spoken word and historical context, filmed at sites across the globe and hosted in BCC’s South Boston headquarters.
“Born on the Water” is the 18th annual MLK tribute concert. The event highlights music from the African American tradition from spirituals and folksongs to melodic political tracks by Nina Simone and Alicia Keys. The concert is typically sold out at Boston Symphony Hall. Now it’s available to all, in Boston and beyond. The concert is free but an RSVP is requested.
“We feel so fortunate to be able to share with you the inspiring music our singers have been rehearsing virtually,” says Andrés Holder, BCC’s executive director. The virtual format of the concert has allowed the singers to delve into new skill sets. The artists recorded their audio and video from their homes, and several of BCC’s oldest singers put their tech talents to good use, using microphones and mixing software to edit their own tracks. The format speaks not only to the artistic adaptation of the time, but to the importance of unity in a moment of physical separation.
Hubie Jones, a civic leader who has worked to support Boston’s underserved children for 60 years, founded BCC in 2003. Since then, the diverse and equitable chorus has presented more than 50 concerts per season in venues as local as Boston Symphony Hall and as far-flung as the White House and the Sydney Opera House. A program that began with just 20 children now provides a musical platform for more than 400 singers around Greater Boston. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the singers have been participating in virtual rehearsals.
This year’s concert isn’t just about celebrating MLK and enjoying classic songs; it’s also about applying his lessons to contemporary Boston. “Our singers have been ferocious advocates for justice, equity and a reframing of how we envision tomorrow’s world,” says Holder. “The team at BCC is proud to raise their voices high, far and wide as we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and its impact in our communities and beyond.”