On Friday night, January 17, 2020 Love Lives Here came together with a collection of local performers and speakers for the 15th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center.
“We Were All Strangers Once…” featured the history of the African-American experience in Montana, Ballad for Americans, and the music of Lance Bendiksen, Wai Mizutani, John Manuel, Erica von Kleist, Halladay Quist, Andre Floyd and Mike Eldred.
The event was produced by Rabbi Allen Secher, Bruce Guthrie and Lance Bendiksen.
A broadcast of the show can be heard Monday night, January 20, on Montana Public Radio at 8 p.m.
The evening ended with the whole audience joining in to sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Negro National Anthem led by John Manuel, with Mike Eldred, Halladay Quist and company.
Lyrics by J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson.
Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning skies, let it resound loud as the rolling sea
Sing a song full of faith that the dark past has tought us
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on till victory is wonStony the road we trod
Bitter the chast’ning rod
Felt in the day that hope unborn had died
Yet with a steady beat
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place on witch our fathers sighed
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered
Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our star is cast…