The Alabama Symphony’s annual “Reflect and Rejoice: A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.” will not only honor the legacy of the civil rights icon next Sunday. It will also pay homage to the late Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, the Birmingham leader who worked with Dr. King in the fight against racial regregation.
ASO assistant conductor Fawzi Haimor will lead the orchestra, along with choirs from Alabama School of Fine Arts and Jacksonville State University. Co-sponsored by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the concert will begin with “An American Fanfare,” by Adolphus Hailstork, whose works have been featured several times at ASO concerts.
Mayor William Bell will provide the narration for Alexander Lamont Miller’s “Let Freedom Ring,” a 1998 composition for narrator and orchestra set to the words of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The mayor follows President Bill Clinton, James Earl Jones, William Warfield and Danny Glover in narrating the work. Jonathan Bailey Holland’s “House of Dreams” will be followed by “PraiseMaker,” a work for chorus and orchestra by Alvin Singleton, who has served as composer-in-residence at the Atlanta Symphony and taught at Spelman College in Atlanta.
The music of Alvin Singleton and Joseph Schwantner plays a major role in the Martin Luther King, Jr. concert tributes this month in Atlanta and Alabama. The Alabama Symphony presents Singleton’s PraiseMaker on January 15, led by Fawzi Haimor.Commissioned and premiered in 1998 by the Cincinnati Symphony for the 125th anniversary of the Cincinnati May Festival, PraiseMaker is a 22-minute work for chorus and orchestra that features texts by filmmaker, poet and frequent Singleton collaborator Susan Kouguell. Fawzi Haimor conducts the event at the Alys Robins Stephens Center in Birmingham, AL – a city historically linked to the Civil Rights movement. Singleton describes PraiseMaker as a “universal, secular and celebratory” work about honoring the past. The title was inspired by the “praise singers” of Africa, who serve as the oral historians and celebrants of the traditions in their communities. A new recording of PraiseMaker was released on the recent Telarc recording The Singing Rooms, performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with Robert Spano.
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