We asked BCC alumni to share some of their memories of Anthony. For those of you who know him, or even if you only see him conduct at concerts, we think you'll appreciate the singer's recollections. What they remember of Anthony really mirrors the work and impact BCC strives to have: how music and friends support us, life skills to focus on one's path, creating a safe and welcoming space, and motivating us to become the best human beings we can.It is difficult to encapsulate Anthony Trecek-King in words because like all great people, his aura permeates your life rather than just a moment or two.
Take out a pencil
I remember when I first joined BCC in 2007 the first thing I remember Mr. TK ever saying was "take out a pencil." Well, you see, I didn't have a pencil. My neighbor in the chair next to me who was nervous on my behalf shared their pencil with me. And Mr. TK said "You all are going to have to bring a pencil to every practice because we move fast and I don't want you to forget or miss anything." And that's exactly what BCC was for me; an experience that moved so quickly and I tried not to forget a single minute.
From Oregon to Jordan, Philadelphia/Washington DC to the United Kingdom every second was an unforgettable whirlwind. But it wasn't just the concerts and the traveling that made my time with BCC so magical. It was those moments in the South End at weekly practice that shaped me into who I am today. I remember one practice in particular. I believe we were practicing "Up to the Mountain" that day for our annual MLK Day performance (now a classic reunion piece for BCC alumni). I could tell right away that Mr. TK had something serious to say-and honestly I was expecting a lecture on our rhythm or pitch. But instead, he told us about what it was like growing up a young Black man in an unforgiving Mid-western town. He told us about how he was bullied, and how sometimes everything just felt impossible. And then he told us about how he fell in love with playing cello, how music was an escape and a therapy in his adolescence and even now.
For me that moment brought so many things into alignment. I realized growing up is difficult for everyone and that music is what helps me get through difficult times too. And I also felt for maybe the first time that I would never be alone, because I knew I always had my fellow chorus members-my friends-and of course, Mr. TK. In reality this is only a glimpse into what an unbelievably inspiring person ATK was to me and so many other singers at BCC. He has given all of us his passion, grace, and care. I know I speak for so many when I say from the very bottom of my heart: thank you Mr. TK, and may your next 10 years at BCC be filled with as much light as the first.
Madison Gordon, 2010
Madison is currently a senior at UC Berkeley majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in education and public policy.
I wanted to do exactly what he did
10 years. 10 years of inspiration. 10 years of using music as a catalyst to promote social change within the Boston community; and around the world. 10 years of constant support and love given to his singers. Anthony Trecek-King is more than your average artistic director. I have Mr. TK to thank for pushing me, and believing in me even when others did not. I had a lot of energy growing up and it was hard to focus and concentrate, yet Mr. TK was one of the only people in my life to positively redirect me and help me become the musician, actor, teacher, and man I am today.
I have known TK since his first year at BCC, and it was because of him that many children's lives were changed, myself included. His teachings and guidance have taught me unique life skills that I will carry with me forever. To be completely honest, it was his teaching ethics that helped me realized what I wanted to do. I wanted to do exactly what he did: change lives, and give others a purpose. Mr. TK has given me more than I can ever repay, and has shown me the way down the path I am now, and for that I am forever grateful.
Thank you ATK, for 10 years of making a difference in our lives, and believing in your singers always.
Terrell Foster-James, 2010
Terrell graduated from Berklee College of Music and is currently one of the lead singers at Big Party Orchestra and an Actor at Fiddlehead Theatre Company.
He recognized my potential
While my time at Boston Children’s Chorus feels as though it was a life-time away, I continue to be keenly aware of the profound, indelible impact that BCC had on me as a young man. At the center of this project was Mr. TK. His energy and persona embodied so much of what BCC meant to me then, and what it continues to mean to me today.
He, like BCC, helped me recognize my potential and do the work necessary to realize it in a way that no other adult had done for me before. Perhaps part of his ability to help me realize my potential was the mild fear that instilled within me. He knew how to push young choristers like myself, and would not hesitate to tell us when he thought we were not achieving our potential. I certainly did my best to avoid these moments. But of course, TK drove me forward with something much deeper, and more meaningful than fear. At the center of TK’s ability as a leader and mentor, was his magical ability to see qualities within myself and others, which we were not yet able to see.
It is rare to have someone in your life who simultaneously recognizes your potential and motivates you to realize it on your own, and TK was this person for me. He helped me realize myself as an agent, a profound gift for a young person. He invested so much in myself and my and peers, and this meant so much from a person who I respected so deeply. Whether, I was preparing to sing for Obama, figuring out how to be a better leader in the Young Men’s Ensemble, sing alto in the Premier Choir, or just trying to get my history notes done, his investment and his care carried me through so many challenges that I may not have overcome otherwise.
I will always be grateful TK and for all of those at BCC for helping me realize qualities abilities within myself that I would not have otherwise realized. You all made me a better, happier, and more confident person. What a gift for a young person to have. TK, thank you for all of you done, and that you will continue to do for the young people of the Boston Children’s Chorus.
Alex Cook, 2011
Alex graduated from Earlham College with a major in Peace and Global Studies and is currently an intern at Migrant Justice in Vermont.