Dozens of area children and youths took to an East Lubbock stage Friday night to kick off a weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations.
Singers, dancers and speakers from area schools and churches performed for an auditorium of about 100 people during the Youth Night program at Alderson Middle School.
Teens in the seven-member youth dance troupe from Full Armour Ministries said they felt honored and excited to participate in the annual celebration marking what would have been King’s 82nd birthday.
“I think it’s a good experience to honor Martin Luther King for what he did,” said 18-year-old Rexon Mosey Jr. “That’s why we worked so hard to perform for everyone, but it’s still for God.”
The dancers performed two numbers, including their “Lifehouse” ministry dance created to show children how they can avoid the temptations of drugs and sex, Mosey said.
Mosey’s troupe of teens, dressed in black pants, white T-shirts and neon orange or lime green bandanas, shared the stage with several groups of second-, third- and fourth-graders from area elementary schools.
Eleven-year-old Michael Zavala said he was nervous as he and two other Parkway Elementary students waited for their turn on the stage.
They would soon dance and break-dance to a medley of Christian-themed hip-hop songs to a clapping and cheering audience.
“It’s so exciting,” he said, rushing back and forth the auditorium’s backstage.
Zavala and other young performers seemed to let their excitement get out of hand, peeking under an opening of the closed back-stage curtain to see the audience watch other performers on the stage.
“Oh my gosh, the audience probably sees their faces,” their teacher, Marquisha Moody, said between loud whispers telling the boys to settle down.
Moody said the boys were participating in the Youth Night program as part of their work in the Community in Schools after-school learning program.
The Youth Night program, as well as this weekend’s festivities, was organized by the Martin Luther King Commemorative Council of Lubbock.
Tracey Jackson, a board member with the commemorative council, said this year’s Youth Night event, with just five performing troupes, was a smaller production than past years because of organizational changes within the council.
She said there was concern the event may not have happened, but members soldiered on to organize the event honoring King’s life.
“We felt like we needed to keep some sort of normalcy,” she said. “It helps us to remember who we are and where we came from.”
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