South Holland news

South Holland to honor King at celebration on Jan. 18

2014-01-13T00:00:00Z South Holland to honor King at celebration on Jan. 18Mary Ann Thornton Times Columnist
January 13, 2014 12:00 am  • 

The South Suburban Chorale headlines South Holland’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. event, at 10 a.m. Jan. 18 at Covenant United Church of Christ, 1130 E. 154th St. in South Holland. If you’ve never had the privilege to attend a chorale performance, then you are in for a lyrical treat.

The chorale, under the direction of Al Jackson, will again perform at the village’s Dr. King event, delivering their professional renditions of Christian hymns and spirituals including “Abide With Me,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “Elijah Rock.”

The chorale is more than 125 voices strong and known throughout the Chicago southland region and Northwest Indiana as a premiere ensemble. The organization was founded in the 1960s by Al Kindig and over the years has experienced tremendous growth and notoriety. The chorale has performed with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and undertaken several international tours, including in Prague and Austria.

Here’s another treat you should not miss at this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. event. The Rev. Ozzie E. Smith Jr., senior pastor of the host church, Covenant UCC, is the guest speaker. Smith is a religious leader and an accomplished musician. As a saxophonist, percussionist and bass guitarist, Smith uses his unique abilities to deliver spiritual messages of encouragement, hope and peace.

Smith is known for the style in which he delivers his sermons. As the guest speaker for the 2014 musical tribute, he will begin his message with a heart-provoking saxophone performance of Thomas Dorsey’s gospel classic “Precious Lord.” The song, performed every year at South Holland’s event, was the favorite gospel song of the beloved civil rights leader, Dr. King, who asked that it be sung at the rally he led the night before his assassination.

A new element of the annual tribute is the 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Volunteer Service Award. Dr. King once said, “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve … You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Mayor Don De Graff, Clerk Sallie Penman, and members of the board of trustees will recognize local schools and school groups that exemplify the character and legacy of Dr. King through their service activities by presenting each with a special plaque. This year, recipients include Calvary Academy’s Student Council; Calvin Christian School; Coolidge Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society, Student Council, Coolidge Ladies of Academic Success & Service, and Coolidge Students with Academic Pride; McKinley Junior High School’s National Junior Honor Society; Seton Academy’s Student Council and National Honor Society; Thornridge High School’s National Honor Society; Thornwood High School; and Thornwood’s A Few Good Men student group.

Also contributing to the event are Jeanne Porter-King from Christ Community Church, Pastor Tom Archer from Thorn Creek Reformed Church, and the Covenant UCC Praise Dancers.

The 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tribute will wrap up with a reception, featuring music by the Seton Academy Jazz Band. The event and reception are free and open to the public.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. Mary Ann Thornton is communications manager for the village of South Holland. She can be reached at

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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