A Day In The Life

April 7, 2008, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Music, Odds and Ends

My high school and middle school spring concerts are fast approaching. I’m very excited about this year’s concert themes.  The middle school choir will present a revue that I put together entitled “Freedom, Peace and Love: A Musical Journey Through the Sixties.”  The high school program theme is “A Time For Peace.”  Both of these concert ideas took shape around two individual choral arrangements that I really wanted my kids to sing.  While making all these musical decisions last fall, I had no idea that April 4, 2008, marked the 50th birthday of the peace symbol. 

I hadn’t given much thought to the history of the peace symbol even though peace is the predominant theme that ties all our concert music together.  An article in a recent issue of Time allowed me to educate myself. 

According to the article, Gerald Holtom, a British textile designer who had been a conscientious objector during World II, created the peace symbol.  The symbol was to be used on banners and signs in a 52-mile march organized by the Direct Action Campaign.  This march was to be Britain’s first major demonstration against nuclear weapons.  Holtom combined the semaphore signals for the letters N, for nuclear, and D, for disarmament.  This combination resulted in what is now known as the peace sign or symbol.  The four-day march began when protesters assembled in Trafalgar Square on April 4, 1958. 

Something I found extremely interesting  was the presence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a participant in the Direct Action Campaign march.  Dr. King is credited with bringing the peace symbol to the United States where it was quickly associated with the growing civil rights movement dedicated to nonviolence.  April 4, 2008,  also marked the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  How bitterly ironic that his death occurred ten years to the day of the debut of an icon so closely related to nonviolence and peace. 

I find myself in a very serendipitous situation where historical events are converging with current day affairs.  Amazing how people and events overlap and unrelated actions merge to form deeply meaningful results.  “Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.”  (Matthew 5: 9)  Dona nobis pacem.



4 Comments so far
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I didn’t know any of that. Very intriguing!

Comment by Karmyn R

How interesting this post was. Thank you so much.

Comment by Sandy

Lot’s of good information there, Songbird. What song’s are the kids singing?

Comment by gawilli

I do recall some of this — it was a good review!
Wish I could sit in on your concert….

Comment by Pamela

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