As he listens from the audience of Boston’s Jordan Hall on Jan. 19, Hubie Jones will experience a project that’s been six years in the making. An adventure that began in 2002 when the Newton resident first heard the Chicago Children’s Choir at the City Year National Convention, the creation of the Boston Children’s Chorus has been a dream fulfilled.
As he listens from the audience of Boston’s Jordan Hall on Jan. 19, Hubie Jones will experience a project that’s been six years in the making.
An adventure that began in 2002 when the Newton resident first heard the Chicago Children’s Choir at the City Year National Convention, the creation of the Boston Children’s Chorus has been a dream fulfilled.
As the harmonies of children’s voices flow together for that mid-winter concert, Jones will smile with pride.For on that day, the entire nation will be watching.
“Most people are blown away that we’ve achieved this much,” Jones said from a practice space in its downtown Boston offices in late December. “It’s been a phenomenal rise.”
Since he began knitting together the frameworks of a children’s chorus in Boston, Jones has played witness to the transformation of nearly 300 children through music and watched as they’ve shaped a community where racial and socio-economic differences no longer divides.
On Jan. 19, those children will perform in a Martin Luther King Jr. Concert that will be broadcast on television screens from Boston to San Francisco.
“This year, for the first time, it will be seen nationally,” he said. “This is huge.”
Through the concert, Jones wants to ensure that the holiday is not forgotten amid ski trips and shopping excursions, but that it continues to be celebrated in meaningful ways.
It was from those chairs in Jordan Hall that he watched Martin Luther King Jr. deliver a speech in the 1960s, and he’s determined to make that message continue to ring through the hall and beyond.
Bolstered by inspiration from King’s speech, Jones launched his lifelong struggle for social justice. Whether it was through advocacy work in the Boston Public Schools, serving on dozens of boards for local nonprofits, including City Year, or working as a professor at Boston University’s School of Social Work, he’s fought to make Boston a better community for everyone.
But his work in establishing the Boston Children’s Chorus is probably the pinnacle in his career.
“He is a visionary. Few visionaries are able to make their visions a reality, but he’s done it,” said Annette Rubin, executive director of the Boston Children’s Chorus. “It’s his brainchild. This is his baby.”
It’s also a second home for the hundreds of children from a wide gamut of backgrounds who come here to rehearse on a weekly basis.
“I feel like I am part of something that is larger than myself,” said Georgia Halliday, a member of the premier chorus and a Newton South student. “I love it. I spend as much time here as possible.”
Cyrus Dahmubed, a sophomore from Auburndale who is home-schooled, said, “You come here and it’s like home. It’s better than home. And then you have to go back to reality.”
When Jones first began the process of creating a children’s chorus in Boston to match the excellence of the one in Chicago, he envisioned an organization that would not only lift children up and provide them opportunities they couldn’t get elsewhere, but would also act as an extended family.
“I woke up late in life and realized music is the best way to bring people together,” he said. “I had tried everything else.”
Within the last few months, he’s seen singers stand in to help when a member’s home was destroyed by fire; support a member whose friend passed away; and launch an extensive volunteer operation at a local homeless shelter.
As high school students filed in for that evening’s practice, Jones said, “The empowerment of kids was part of my vision, but to see this actualized is unbelievable.”Chrissie Long can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Newton TAB
The sixth annual Martin Luther King, Jr. concert begins at 6:45 p.m. at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall. Admission is $25, and tickets are on sale now at the BCC’s Web site: www.bostonchildrenschorus.org. A dress rehearsal will also take place at 2 p.m. on Jan. 19. Tickets are available online for $10.