Local choir to perform before kickoff on opening night

Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 6:33 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The countdown is on to the Chiefs 2023 NFL season, but the players aren’t the only ones who’ve been practicing. The Kansas City Boys and Girls Choir is opening the game with a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” recognized by some as the Black National Anthem.

The choir has performed as far as Washington D.C. but Thursday night they’re taking on their largest crowd yet at Arrowhead Field.

“The history that is steeped in it speaks volumes to where we have come, but how far we still have to go,” said executive director Mia Ramsey.

Cited as the “black national anthem” by the NAACP, it became a song of liberation and eventually a rallying call for hope and change during the Civil Rights Movement.

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“In that time, those that were fighting for freedom, those that were fighting for equality, and just to be recognized as a human would know that we could sing this song and we could have pride in our being,” said Ramsey.

The choir comprises about 14 boys and girls from the Kansas City Metro area and surrounding communities. Founded in 1995, it was created as an outlet for marginalized youth, giving them exposure to the arts.

“As we sing this song, we sing it with pride and we honor our ancestors, we honor those who are present before us, and those who are yet to come,” said Ramsey.

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Its mantra, ‘More than Music’ speaks to the support they are given outside of the classroom with mentorship and guidance. Ramsey said she imparts these words on her students prior to every performance.

“This is your moment. Don’t shrink in it. Know who you are always. Don’t be afraid. You are here with people who love you and support you and you will not fail.”

The Kansas City Chiefs take on the Detroit Lions Thursday night at 7:20 p.m.