On Friday, January 29, SUNY Oswego held its 27th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, inviting two exceptional people to be a part of the event: Dr. Bernice King and Pastor Smokie Norful. Dr. Bernice King is the youngest daughter of the famous and influential Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pastor Smokie Norful is a Grammy Award-winning Gospel artist.
We were more than excited to hear that we weren’t going to do a cover of Pastor Norful’s song, but, instead we were going to sing it with him. Over the winter break, each choir member had to practice on his/her own, since there would only be a week left to practice once we returned back to the university. Gospel Choir’s vice president, Kristen “K-Ray” Ray, took the liberty of making a recording that comprised of each note pertaining to what the altos, sopranos, and tenors would have to sing.
While on stage with Pastor Norful, the choir and I joined the back-up singers in dance and song. We were alive, while singing live (not really a pun, but eh…). Along with the live band and Pastor Norful’s encouraging presence, the choir made a joyful noise!
When Dr. King appeared on stage after her introduction, I was excited and curious to get to listen to her speech. Excited because she was the daughter of Dr. King Jr., the man who I read about in textbooks; the man whose name would be printed on my quiz papers; the man who made a famous speech about having a dream, a speech that took to its audience in 1963 and, still, does so today. I was curious to know who Dr. Bernice King is. During her speech, Dr. King inspired me to think about how my actions could affect others. I was able to grasp the understanding that making a change would not be easy, unless you were willing to be self-less and passionate towards your peers. Dr. King’s wise words ignited something in me, that raised the question, “What changes do I need to make internally?”
To hear from both Dr. King and Pastor Norful was a great experience, an experience that I will hold dear to me.
Below is a video of Dr. King speaking at SUNY Oswego: