CHILDREN ATTEND Bowdoin College’s 17th annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

CHILDREN ATTEND Bowdoin College’s 17th annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

BRUNSWICK

Now in its 17th year and sponsored by the Bowdoin College Library, a children’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy continues to draw crowds, including nearly 200 people Monday morning to the college campus.

Through song and lessons geared for children 12 and younger, at least 80 children sitting on the floor of Thorne Hall’s Daggett Lounge learned about individual talents that make each person unique and worthy of respect.

“Who here is different?” program presenter Taina Mirach of Auburn asked the youngsters.

Many hands shot up in the air.

“Who here is special?”

More hands are raised.

“Everybody here is different, everybody here is special, so everybody here is unique,” Mirach said.

Mirach, of Auburn, came to Brunswick with her son Roman, who sat up front.

“I’m just excited we’re celebrating something important together,” she said about the day.

The nearly two-hour program moved along steadily, engaging children and adults and adding time for stretching and jumping to singing to keep everyone alert.

Music educators and guitarists Josephine Cameron and Matt Loosigian led the audience in songs that served as anthems for the nation’s Civil Rights Movement.

Cameron and Loosigian helped the children understand what it felt like to walk on a 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The music educators asked the young audience members to imagine what it would feel like to walk on hot, dusty roads near sometimes unfriendly bystanders.

“When you sing together, it really is impossible to feel alone,” Loosigian said.

Through lyric and tune as led by Cameron and Loosigian, songs including “This Little Light of Mine” to “Up Above My Head,” drove home the event’s lessons.

Portland resident Natalie Alves, 7, said her favorite part of the morning program “was that we got to sing a lot.”

Her song of choice: Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”

Standing next to her mother at the room’s entrance, Alves connected the recent work in school learning about King to Monday’s celebration.

“There’s a lot to learn about him,” she said.

Bowdoin College Associate Librarian Judy Montgomery is hopeful the kid-friendly program she helped organize 17 years ago will continue.

Montgomery is retiring after 38 years working for Bowdoin. She and Library Administrative Coordinator Helen Hill and Montgomery continued their work together on this year’s program, as they have in the past.

“I think it’s so important, the messages of Dr. King and of the Civil Rights era,” Montgomery said, “as timeless now as ever.”


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