In the recent upper school Chamber Singers concert, students sang “Be the Change” chosen by music teacher Margaret Anne Butterfield who noted in her introduction that the piece adapts texts of Gandhi; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; The Gospel of Matthew; and the composer, Laura Farnell, and employs a phrase in Swahili.
She shared these quotes from some of the students regarding their insights about the message of the piece:
The lyrics of this song are particularly important with all of the conflict that's happening in the world right now. It combines original lyrics with those of "This Little Light of Mine", a song known for inspiring hope in the hearts of its listeners.
As we are faced with climate change, racial inequalities, Covid-19, and other issues, this song motivates us to make any impact we can on the situation. The overall message of the song is to act if you feel passionate about a certain issue. In relation to this year's spice, equality, it can motivate us to strive toward the ultimate goal of equality.
“Be the Change” is very special to us because it embodies one of our core values; equality. The piece has the repeated phrase, “Be the change you want to see in the world” which is especially important now when African Americans and the AAPI community are fighting for racial equality. As students, we are all trying to "be the change "whether it is through our clubs, like Black Student Union, Asian Student Union, or Diversity Club, or just by learning how to be an up-stander. As a choir and as Friends students, we are taught to “let our light shine” and to speak out against injustices we see happening in our community and the world at large. So, we encourage all of you to “Basi mwanga wako uangaze”; Let your light shine.
Margaret Anne also noted that the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote that is part of the lyrics is also on a banner that hangs in the Wilmington Friends middle/upper school meeting room:
“Darkness cannot drive out the darkness; only light can do that.
Hatred cannot drive out the hatred; only love can do that.”