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Music and Words from 'A King Celebration'

Music and Words from 'A King Celebration'

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Members of the glee clubs of Morehouse and Spelman colleges. i

Members of the glee clubs of Morehouse and Spelman colleges lent their voices to the program. Philip McCollum hide caption

toggle caption Philip McCollum
Members of the glee clubs of Morehouse and Spelman colleges.

Members of the glee clubs of Morehouse and Spelman colleges lent their voices to the program.

Philip McCollum

Performance Today features music from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the glee clubs of Morehouse and Spelman colleges and others, as well as sections of famous speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It's a King Day celebration.

Fanfare for the Common Man

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From the stage of the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel, Robert Spano conducts the brass and percussion members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in the "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Aaron Copland.

A Tribute to King and Parks

Music and Words from 'A King Celebration'

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A King Celebration 2006 pays tribute both to Dr. King and to the late civil-rights icon Rosa Parks. With both Dr. King's and Rosa Parks own voices, Korva Coleman explores how their lives and names became permanently linked 50 years ago in Montgomery, Ala.

Tippett's Spirituals Suite

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In the midst of the gathering storm clouds of World War Two, English composer Sir Michael Tippett wrote his best-known piece — a searing antiwar oratorio called "A Child of Our Time." Most of the words — and music — in the oratorio were Tippett's own, except for the five African-American spirituals that the composer used both as beacons of truth, and moments of reflection, throughout the piece. Tippett later put the five spirituals together in a concert suite for orchestra and chorus, performed here by Morehouse and Spelman Glee Clubs and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, all directed by Robert Spano.

Dr. King's Words

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A montage of music and excerpts from Dr. King's most stirring speeches.

Higdon's 'Dooryard Bloom'

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Baritone Nmon Ford joins the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to perform "Dooryard Bloom," acclaimed young American composer Jennifer Higdon's interpretation of "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," Walt Whitman's elegiac poem written after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Selections from 'Spirituals'

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From the King Chapel stage, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Conductor Robert Spano remembers Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Then we'll hear the ASO accompany the Glee Clubs of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges in Three Spirituals arranged by African-American composer T.J. Anderson: "Keep Me from Sinkin' Down," "I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray," and "This Little Light of Mine."

'America Is... a Dream'

Excerpts from "America is Essentially a Dream," the forerunner to the "I Have a Dream" speech by Dr. King, delivered at Lincoln University in Philadelphia in June 1961. It's set to music by Adolphus Hailstork called "Epitaph for a Man who Dreamed."

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'Runaway, Runaways'

Back onstage at King Chapel, Robert Spano leads the combined Glee Clubs of Morehouse and Spelman and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in T.J. Anderson's haunting "Runaway, Runaways," from "Slavery Documents 2." Anderson, who is present for the concert, was the Atlanta Symphony's — and the nation's — first African-American composer-in-residence for a major American orchestra when he was hired by the late conductor Robert Shaw for the job in 1971.

Copland's 'Symphony No. 3'

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The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performs the Finale of Aaron Copland's Third Symphony, incorporating his Fanfare for the Common Man.

'We Shall Overcome'

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Korva Coleman recalls Dr. King's Atlanta speech in 1962, explaining the meaning and power of "We Shall Overcome," and why it had become an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. It's followed by a performance of the spiritual arranged especially for these concerts by Dr. Uzee Brown, Jr., music director of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Dr. King famously preached.

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