Etched in Stone

Grade 4; Duration 7:00

Living among us are fellow citizens who see more clearly, think more broadly, and act with an unbounded courage in order to make this world a better place. Their work drives the engine of progress and is needed desperately, and yet at times it is regrettably shunned and misunderstood. Their message is often vitally important, if not world changing, and this aspect of their presence in particular often makes them a perceived threat to those not ready for change. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was such a person.

When Kyle Smith asked me to compose a work for the bands at Westbrook HS to honor Dr. King’s life and mark the 50th anniversary of his untimely assassination, I recalled standing in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. The imposing presence of the memorial, with Dr. King seemingly emerging from a mountain, was incredibly moving. His caring and courageous words, etched in stone, are worthy of contemplation for generations to come.

This recording is by the Norseman Band of St. Olaf College with the composer conducting. The narrator is Professor Michelle Gibbs of the St. Olaf Theater Department.

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