School Plans Virtual Dr. Martin Luther King Tribute

2020 event - Manchester High School senior Imani Bray sings during the 51st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Tribute held at her school’s auditorium. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  MANCHESTER – A school district tradition had to be canceled this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

  The annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute and Gospel Chorus performance that would normally have been held last month, was cancelled due to the coronavirus health crisis.

  The school district will instead host a multimedia presentation to be presented virtually on February 26, that will include content from previous tributes and other material submitted by the public.

  Evelyn Swift, the organizer of the event said that the committee is seeking submissions to help them create a montage of moments, which will be edited by Manchester Township High School Channel 21 students under the direction of Keith Eckert.

  In order to submit content Swift asked that those interested to complete the participation form found at (under featured news and events). Organizers are seeking photos and videos of past events as well as readings, recitations, song lyric integrations, reflections of your time in the Gospel Chorus, and tributes to Selena Bullock.

  Those with questions can contact Swift by e-mailing her at

  In 2019 the Manchester Township School’s Gospel Chorus assembled to celebrate 50 years of song and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with one night of joyful sound.

  The district celebrated a half century for the gospel chorus with an “Evening of Song and Celebration in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

2020 event – Speaker Darrell Lawrence Willis, Sr. speaks during a program held at Manchester High School about meeting Dr. Martin Luther King’s eldest daughter at a time he was preparing to play Dr. Martin Luther King on stage. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  As per tradition, students sang a collection of songs throughout the evening and the program included a live band, the middle school and high school gospel chorus, the Manchester Alumni Gospel Chorus, members of the Restoration Family Worship Center, chorus founder Queen Cannon, and a guest speaker who marched with Dr. King.

  That observance also featured praise and worship performed by members from the Restoration Family Worship Center with a soulful and boisterous set of songs.

   “It is quite an accomplishment that over these 50 years, the Manchester Gospel Chorus has stayed in existence…it is a testament to the community in Manchester,” said Joan Marie Slater, former advisor for the district.

  That year also marked the 90th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Slater remarked during that celebration that “we need to bear witness to his dreams and his hopes for this country, because they seem to have gotten lost somewhere along the way.”

  Slater added, “we are a country divided and we must find a way to peace through the racial divide and terrorism that still plague our 21st century society.”