Audiences moved by 5th annual Daniel Pearl World Music Day


When Daniel Pearl was a boy, he and his father Judea Pearl shared a strong connection through music. That strong musical connection still remains although the younger Pearl is no longer here. Dr. Pearl’s poem The Lions’ Den,” which is about his son, was adapted into a song and performed by the school choir during this year’s Daniel Pearl World Music Day.

“For Danny and his father, music was a magnet for them. We could be walking in Westwood and if they heard music, they would stop to listen and sometimes sing along,” said Ruth Pearl, mother of the Wall Street Journal.

With a silent hum that was spreading throughout the room, family members, friends and guests waited patiently in the Multi-Purpose Room (MPR) for the show to begin on Oct. 23.

Clad in a black suit and a blue dress, guests of honor Dr. and Mrs. Judea Pearl were excited to share this year’s performance with DPMHS and some friends that they invited.

Senior Chris Bower, who also serves as The Pearl Post’s Online Editor-in-Chief, welcomed everyone to the event and was followed by Principal Deb Smith, who read a letter from President Obama regarding Daniel Pearl World Music Days.

Confetti falls down on the choir during one of their performances. Photo by Jake Dobbs.
Confetti falls down on the choir during one of their performances. Photo by Jake Dobbs.

The performance started off with a beautiful rendition of the traditional Jewish hymn, “Hine Mah Tov,” performed by the choir.

The choir then performed “The Lions’ Den,” a crowd favorite that was written about Daniel’s death in 2002. For the first time, the show was accompanied by alumnus mandolin player Marco Perez, who played during this song.

English teachers also honored Pearl’s legacy in the classroom by writing poems. During a musical break, the poem entitled “Liberty,” which was written by senior Jose Herrera, was recited by senior Xenia Chavez.

Senior soloist Elizabeth Ayala sang Christina Perri’s “Human” during the pianists and modern band ensemble pieces. This wasn’t the first time Ayala participated in the event. She also sang during her freshman year.

“I feel there should be more peace in the world and we should remember Daniel more often.” Ayala said.

Pearl’s love for music started at the young age of four when he started playing the piano. His mother remembers that he was very frustrated that he could read music but couldn’t read books yet.

By the age of seven, Pearl started playing the violin and tried the clarinet and guitar, which eventually lead him to joining many bands throughout the world.

Growing up Pearl was a quiet child. Unlike his older sister Tamara. With no need to show off, Pearl was very laid back and enjoyed observing his surroundings. He also loved his younger sister, Michelle, who will always be “his baby.”

“He was so internally secure,” Ruth said. “He didn’t need applause.”

Overall, Ruth and Gorski was very proud of this year’s performance.

Among the buzzing lullaby of conversations, some unexpected guests sat among the parents and students. A class of third grade students from Valley Alternative Magnet School and their teachers took up the the whole left side of the MPR. One of these teachers was Alice Withers.

Withers explains that she’s known Smith for a long time; they use to work together and have remained in contact. Smith invited Withers and her class to share the experience with the school.

Senior Imani Brown, on guitar, performs with senior Elizabeth Ayala, their rendition of “Human” by Christina Perri. Photo by Hailey Pohevitz.
Senior Imani Brown, on guitar, performs with senior Elizabeth Ayala, their rendition of “Human” by Christina Perri. Photo by Hailey Pohevitz.

“I want (my class) to learn music appreciation and how you can honor people in many different ways.” Withers said.

Throughout the event the audience seemed pleased with the performances, including Yair Cortes, parent of Johana Cortes. He describes that he was very moved by the performance. When asked to describe the event in three words he paused before answering: “Unity, friendship and family.”

As the performance was coming to a close, the choir sang a mash-up of songs by Fun., which finished with a confetti shower.

The excellence of the performance didn’t come on a silver platter, as Gorski, the music teacher behind the performance said.

Through the time of the creation, Gorski was impressed by the students’ ambition. Students who participated spent their break and lunch time and sometimes even after school rehearsing. She says that they stretched themselves and achieved a new level of excellence.

“I’m proud of the commitment that they demonstrated, the work ethic, the discipline and the great talent that we have at our school,” Gorski said.