MSU College of Music Pays Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jan. 20 free concerts feature pop, soul, and gospel hits from the 1960s and 1970s

MSU College of Music will take part in the campus-wide celebration commemorating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with two free concerts, “Jazz: Spirituals, Prayer and Protest.” The concerts will be held on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013, at Wharton Center’s Pasant Theatre. 

The two performances, slated for 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., are part of MSU’s campus-wide campaign, “The Road to Social Justice Begins with One Step,” for social equality and justice. The goal for this year’s theme is to explore issues around social justice from domestic and global programs.

In addition to MSU’S Jazz Orchestras, directed by Rodney T. Whitaker, other performers include Associate Professor of Voice (baritone) Peter Lightfoot, the Earl Nelson Singers, the MSU Gospel Choir, the MSU Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and the MSU Children’s Choir.

“This concert gives us an opportunity to celebrate and further promote how far we have come in regards to social equality and justice,” says Rodney Whitaker, director of the jazz studies program at MSU. “As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most influential leaders in U.S. history, we hope to inspire the MSU community to step up and further educate themselves about what’s happening in our community, our country, and globally. Despite our tremendous progress, we still have much work to do.”

University administrators Jeff Wray, associate professor of film studies and creative studies, Paulette Granberry Russell, senior advisor to the president for diversity and the director of the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, and Pamela Bellamy, director of the MSU Pre-College Programs, will all be speaking to promote social justice during both performances.

The events are free and open to the public on a first-come, first served basis. No tickets are required. Donations are welcome at the concert to benefit the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Endowed Scholarships. For more information on this event, and all other MSU MLK Jr. Commemorative Celebration events, visit

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