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ATLANTA-December 10, 2008 - The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra along with the Morehouse and Spelman College Glee Clubs, will perform the 17th annual musical tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “A King Celebration” on Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. The performance, commemorating the life and work of the celebrated civil rights leader, will take place in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, the alma mater of Dr. King.

The program features music that was celebrated and loved by Abraham Lincoln and inspired by Dr. King’s legacy. In addition, the concert will be broadcast to nearly 250 radio stations across the country on American Public Media’s Performance Today, hosted by Fred Child, on Monday, January 19, 2009. For station information and broadcast times, please visit

This concert is made possible through the generous support of Target.

“Although Lincoln never studied music, as president he probably heard more than any other occupant of the White House,” wrote Lincoln historian Douglas Jimerson.

“While president, he went to the theater at every possible opportunity to hear operas and musical concerts.”

Civil War music scholar Kenneth A. Bernard wrote of President Lincoln: “There were times when he could relax and be soothed by the familiar tunes, times when he would make requests for particular pieces, times when he would compliment the players, times when he would be sustained, and times when he would be brought to tears.”

It is documented that Lincoln was particularly fond of music by Giuseppe Verdi, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Negro Spirituals. Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano will conduct the Orchestra and the Morehouse and Spelman College Glee Clubs in a program of Verdi’s Overture to La forza del destino, Nicolas Flagello’s The Passion of Martin Luther King, Ulysses Kay’s A Lincoln Letter, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, and the traditional “We Shall Overcome.” Shirley Mitchell, Senior Vice President – Georgia Market Development at Bank of America, chairs the 2009 Host Committee, which secures sponsorships and fundraising for the event.

A King Celebration raises funds for music scholarships at Morehouse and Spelman Colleges, as well as Learning Community programs of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. For more information about purchasing host tickets or supporting A King Celebration, please contact 404.733.5069.
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Posted by edurham at December 11, 2008 04:32 PM

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