It is nothing short of awe-inspiring to realize that the historic, massive crowds coming together in the March for Our Lives, estimated at near 800,000 in Washington DC alone, were motivated and organized through the passionate effort of some 20 surviving students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. What is more astonishing is that in only 39 days, that group grew into a movement [VIDEO] for change to end gun violence that would stretch across the globe to become 800 separate marches in communities worldwide.

As was stressed, from the stage in the nation’s capital today, March 24, again and again, these were no paid propagandists, nor part of a political action committee — they were students.

Today, those students were stars, and nothing any musical performer could offer would take their spotlight. Still, any inspiring music never fails to lift souls, and as brave and articulate and spectacular as these young people are, they are still reeling with the aftermath of a tragedy and trying to cope with their own grief. Music can soothe without lecture, voicing what no volumes of speech can express.

Rising in every way

The performances of March for Our Lives saw moments of mutual bolstering for the artists, students, and assembled masses. By the time Andra Day took the stage, first with the perfectly chosen “Rise Up,” the crowd was swelling to beyond any numbers that had been predicted, and those like Sir Paul McCartney were lending their feet for the cause in New York. Civil rights legend, John Lewis, marched in Atlanta, and Sen.

Dick Durbin in Chicago. The effervescent Ms. Day did not miss the opportunity to amplify the “for you” at the end of each chorus, designating the youthful leaders.

When rapper with a reason, Common came to join Day with “Stand Up For Something,” his energy was contagious to “touch with the Savior’s hand,” as the song admonishes, and the chorus of students in red suits was beaming in joy. The crowds could not have been more elevated, and the convocation for the day had been given.

Fires of civic involvement were set ablaze by David Hogg, Delaney Tarr, supporters and families from the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, along with speakers from Chicago, Baltimore, and Los Angeles. Voter registration was a pivotal purpose in the day as well. There would be sickness from sheer nerves on display, too, but no one can doubt that the passion and emotion were real. There was no pretend teleprompter voice to any word spoken — it was all from the heart. Demi Lovato was decked out in a red coat, and wore her heart on her sleeve singing “Skyscraper.” The crowds came alive, singing every word.

The singer shook hands with several students and spoke personal words as she exited, again, leaving the star power with them.

Lin Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt had part of their song, “Found Tonight,” cut into by interviews with senators and other public notables, but nonetheless, the emotion of the pair was pouring in every verse and glistening with harmony, despite the blowing winds. “Don't give up!” Miranda exclaimed before leaving, raising his hand.

There was a not fit for broadcast expletive from Vic Mensa in his performance of “We Could Be Free,” but the singer-composer’s passion was so genuine and expressive that no one could be offended, or misjudge his motives. To be sure, “the kids” caught his vibe.

Miley Cyrus could have chosen from several songs of inclusion and acceptance from her latest album, “Younger Now,” but sensing the power of united people with a purpose before her, she hearkened back a few years to “The Climb.” The anthem of overcoming seemed of divine choosing, and a chorus of voices sang along as Miley held a “NEVER AGAIN” sign. She closed by saying how honored she was to be “friends” with the students, and her humility and happiness were evident

Ariana Grande feels the trauma of a mass shooting more deeply than most. She was so traumatized by the tragedy at her Manchester show in England that she literally felt paralyzed from the inside for a while. She regained her spirit and joined a very willing creative contingent for “One Love Manchester” last summer. It's no wonder that there was a palpable burst of hope in the crowd as she belted out “Be Alright.”

A blessed benediction

Stoneman Douglas student Emma Gonzalez provided the most powerful and passionate interlude of the day in six minutes and 20 seconds of silence. Many times through the day, remembrances came for the 17 so senselessly lost, and there was even the birthday song sang to Nicholas Dworet. The granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr. made the impetus of the day heightened, but perhaps no moments in broadcast television have ever been more moving than those of seeing Gonzalez stand stoically for the same amount of time as it took for her fellow students’ lives to be taken. It is something no one can ever forget from March for Our Lives.

Jennifer Hudson closed the performances for March for Our Lives, and her selection of “The Times They Are A-Changin’” could not have been more personal or delivered more of a punch. For Jennifer Hudson, this year marks not only this March for Our Lives event, but the ten-year anniversary of the loss of her mother, her brother, and nephew in a tragic shooting. She, like the gathered students, carries the pain of gun violence within her heart daily. Her words were plaintive and sung with a choir girl’s conviction, backed by the DC Choir in a beautiful benediction to the day.