SLSO, IN UNISON to honor MLK with Jan. 16 concert | Living It

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Music Director Stéphane Denève, and St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus Director Kevin McBeth invite the St. Louis community to join the SLSO for a concert honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at 7:30 p.m. Monday Jan. 16 at Powell Hall.

Supported by Commerce Bank, there is no admission charge, and tickets can be acquired at slsa.org or by calling the SLSO Box Office at 314-534-1700. Reservations are required.

The concert will also be broadcast live on KWMU 90.7 St. Louis Public Radio.

The concert celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy through music. Members of both the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and the IN UNISON Chorus will perform on the program.

“The SLSO is honored to join so many others in our community, across our nation, and around the world, who are committed to advancing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said Marie-Hélène Bernard, president and CEO of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra,

“We are grateful to participate in the day of service by tapping into the power of music as a vehicle to reflect as a community. We invite our community to join us live at Powell Hall or on 90.7 KWMU St. Louis Public Radio, which is airing this special concert in a continuation of our 13-year partnership—for this special concert commemorating one of the most important civil rights activists.”

The concert will feature Kevin McBeth and Denève as conductors members of the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus and St. Louis Symphony Chorus

Performances will include an arrangement of Florence Price’s Adoration, Freedom’s Plow by St. Louis native Rollo Dilworth, and William Steffe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

The concert will end with “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by J. Rosamond Johnson, recognized as the Black National Anthem. The program also includes “What We Need,” a selection from local composer Adam Maness’ Divides That Bind.

The SLSO commissioned an arrangement of Divides That Bind for full orchestra and chorus, then performed the world premiere at its annual Lift Every Voice concert in 2015. The piece includes a narration of Dr. King’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech as part of the work.

Celebrated as a leading American orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the second-oldest orchestra in the country, marking its 143rd year with the 2022/2023 season and its fourth with  Denève.

The SLSO maintains its commitment to artistic excellence, educational impact, and community collaborations, honoring its mission of enriching lives through the power of music.

The SLSO serves as a convener of individuals, creators, and ideas, and is committed to building community through compelling and inclusive musical experiences. As it continues its longstanding focus on equity, diversity, inclusion, and access, the SLSO embraces its strengths as a responsive, nimble organization, while investing in partnerships locally and elevating its presence globally.

The St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus is an auditioned ensemble of 100+ volunteer singers that performs a variety of musical styles, with a focus on the interpretation, performance, and preservation of African and Black American music in the diaspora.

Founded in 1994 by the late Dr. Robert Ray as an extension of the SLSO’s IN UNISON community outreach initiative, the IN UNISON Chorus performs several times each year with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and throughout the community.

Chorus members often come from IN UNISON Program partner churches. Many chorus members sing in other vocal ensembles or church choirs. All share a love of music and of singing.

Bayer Fund has supported the Chorus since its inception. The Chorus has been led by Kevin McBeth since 2011.

For more information, visit slso.org.

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