The mission of the Boston Children’s Chorus, whose singers are diverse as Boston itself, is to harness the power of music to promote social justice. In tonight’s Martin Luther King Jr. concert in Jordan Hall, the young men’s choir will undoubtedly shake things up with a work based on the raw utterances of unarmed black men in tragic encounters.
Choir rehearsals move beyond the notes to knocking down barriers of race, religion, gender, and class through conversation about what’s in the news and how it affects the singers’ lives. Choir director Anthony Trecek-King, an African-American who grew up in Nebraska, looks for songs that spark conversation and take the audience on a journey.
When Trecek-King encountered a work called “Seven Last Words of Unarmed Men” by 28-year-old African-American composer Joel Thompson — a reference to the seven last words of Jesus, as recorded in the Bible — he knew he hit a gold mine.