East Millbrook Middle School’s Honors Chorus drew applause at Tuesday’s Wake County school board meeting for their performance in recognition of Black History Month.
The 50-member choir at the North Raleigh magnet school sang “The Lord Bless You And Keep You” and “Ain’t That Good News.” Rahsaan McNeill’s the school’s choral director, said the two songs had a double meaning for African-American slaves who were yearning for their freedom.
“The kids understand that a spiritual is a spiritual, which means to be uplifting,” McNeill said as he introduced the songs. “But the wonderful thing about this they didn’t know, that when these were sung, that they were actually composed for those who were in slavery to escape to freedom.
“So it’s two really significant meanings to these pieces.”
The performances occurred between the 23:00 minute and 28:00 minute mark of the meeting.
School board Chairman Tom Benton praised the students, saying he could see them appearing on the television show “The Voice” in a few years. The singing was a welcome departure for board members from the rest of the meeting.
“I wish the rest of our meeting was going to be that entertaining,” Benton said after the students left.