Norton Center to host musical tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 12, 2012 By Elizabeth Trollinger
King, Jr., on Monday, Jan. 16, featuring the Kentucky State
University Concert Choir (above).
The Norton Center for the Arts will host a musical tribute in honor of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 16 in Newlin Hall.
The concert, sponsored by the Centre College Office of Diversity, the Diversity Student Union, and the Committee on Diversity and Community, will feature more than 150 performers, including the Kentucky State University Concert Choir. A tribute by the Male Chorus of First Baptist Church in Danville and Moments in Motion, a Centre College dance group, will open the program. The Centre College Choir and choirs from Danville Independent, Boyle County and Mercer County High Schools will also participate in the event.
KSU’s nationally recognized concert choir, directed by Dr. Carl M. Smith, will sing a selection of works representing King’s message of peace and his rise to prominence.
“Every time we do anything on MLK Day, it’s significant for me. He was a great man,” Smith says. “It’s also significant for me to be performing at Centre. It’s a beautiful place to perform.”
Smith holds the honor of having performed twice for Dr. King with the KSU Concert Choir, the first time being at the March on Frankfort in 1964.
“We sang for him at the capitol. I remember all the students were kind of amazed, because as he started speaking, he had no notes. He just stood up and started talking, and the crowd went wild,” Smith says. “It was invigorating and exciting for my students.”
The KSU Concert Choir performed for King a second time — and rather unexpectedly — several years later.
“The second time we saw him was at a Baptist church in Detroit. As we were downstairs preparing for a concert, one of the students walked up and said, ‘Mr. Smith, Dr. King is upstairs.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ I went and looked, and there he was,” Smith says. “The students sang ‘Precious Lord, Take My Hand’ for him — it was a favorite of his.”
Smith and his students look forward to coming together to sing with the choirs from Centre and the local high schools.
“It’s wonderful that this event will bring students together from various public schools to perform with us,” he says. “We’re hoping we have a good representation from the community, and I hope students will get something from it.”
To reserve tickets, call the Norton Center Box Office at 1-877-HIT-SHOW.
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Centre College, founded in 1819 and chosen to host its second Vice Presidential Debate in 2012, is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges, at 42nd in the nation, and ranks 27th for best value among national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 34th among all the nation’s colleges and universities and has named Centre in the top five among all institutions of higher education in the South for three years in a row. Centre is also ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News for its study abroad program. For more, click here.