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16 Jan 2023
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We had a great celebration of Martin Luther King Day on his birthday, which was Saturday. With voices raised in song from the First Flight High School Choir, local gospel singers the Echoes of Heritage and the Elizabeth City State University Choir, it was quite a day.

Sponsored by the Haven Creek Baptist Church, the oldest Baptist church in Manteo, it was the 32nd celebration of Dr. King’s life the church as sponsored.

Although the music was the highlight there was more to it, including a reading of the last passages of Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech that he delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

The music, though, was certainly what made the day memorable. From the complex yet very well-performed rendition of Children Go Where I Send Thee from the First Flight High School choir, to the numerous traditional spiritual sung by the Echoes of Heritage, the time seemed to fly by.

But the ECSU choir was truly the show stopper. 

Musical Director, Dr. Walter Swan asked audience members to raise their hands based on political party affiliation, with all parties and independents represented. He then asked for audience members to raise their hands if they were Americans—and that got a 100% response.

The choir then sang one of the most beautiful and moving performances of America the Beautiful. 

That was just the beginning of the virtuoso performance from the choir. The solo performances were particularly compelling and memorable bringing the audience to their feet a number of times.

The day’s events ended with everyone singing We Shall Overcome, the Pete Seeger song that became the anthem for the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

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