Of all the musical moments associated with the city's MLK50 remembrances — and there were many memorable ones — it may turn out that tonight's will be the most meaningful in terms of the values promoted by Dr. King himself. King, having remained devoted to the cause of America's poor to the end, would surely have been proud of tonight's concert at the Cannon Center, benefiting the Memphis Food Bank.
“Music for Martin” will be a massive collaborative effort, featuring students of the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music (the 901 Big Band, Chamber Choir, and Chamber Strings), the Ballet on Wheels Dance School, and the Boys and Girls Choir of Memphis. The combined forces of these ensembles will make for a grand sonic spectacle in the brilliant acoustics of the concert hall.
The Boys & Girls Choir of Memphis
Their collective talents will bring some local works to life, starting with music from The Promise
, an opera based on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by Memphis composer John Baur. The night will also feature the world premiere of Echoes of a King, A Hip Hop Symphony
Composed collaboratively, Echoes
combines hip-hop, gospel, soul and R&B with classical orchestration performed by a 50-piece ensemble consisting of a big band, string section, MC’s and vocalists. “This may be the first hip hop symphony of its kind,” says Ben Yonas, assistant professor of music business at the University of Memphis. “Imagine the many riffs and rhythms associated with hip hop, but created with live orchestral instruments. This will be a fantastic premiere.” Describing the infectious enthusiasm of the student co-composers, Yonas, a musician himself, says “their talent and commitment is truly astounding.”
"Music for Martin," presented by Mayor Jim Strickland and the Memphis Youth City Council, will donate all proceeds from tonight's show to the Memphis Food Bank. Bring three canned goods or a jar of peanut butter in lieu of admission. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., program starts at 6:30 p.m.