On Martin Luther King Jr. Day Idaho Falls High School kicked off its 21st annual Multicultural Week.
The morning assembly started off with speakers encouraging students to perform acts of kindness, then they were treated to a special performance. Alpin Hong is an accomplished professional pianist. He is Julliard-trained and has performed at Carnegie Hall. On Monday he performed at the Civic Auditorium.
"One thing that music does more than anything is that it is a common language. It goes beyond boundaries and barriers, and race and creed, and even religion," said Hong.
In between playing familiar and beloved songs, Hong kept the students laughing and touched on how even the smallest changes can make a big difference.
"He was so amazing. It was really wonderful how he didn't even need music sheets," said Brenda Hernandez, senior at IFHS.
Hong has visited Idaho Falls before and Multicultural Week organizer Russ Rapp thought Hong would be the perfect keynote speaker for the week.
"I think it's really important that we recognize that theme that we are more alike than we are different. So we learn about how we are different and by doing that, we learn how much we really are alike," said Rapp.
"Multiculturalism is about transcending those barriers we often erect between ourselves and all those people who are not so different from us," said Hong.
Before Hong left he had one more special way to bring everyone together: he played along with the high school's a capella group and orchestra.
"It was crazy, it was amazing to see how well we all came together and all took our love for music to a different level," said Andy Nelson, a sophomore orchestra member.
Nelson is also an award-winning fiddler and he will perform at lunch this week. There will also be acrobats and other musical groups from the school performing.