For the first time, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will join in the festivities at the annual Martin Luther King celebration program at Kleinhans Music Hall at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. The celebration is free of charge.
The program is organized by Concerned Citizens Following the Dream and has been running for 34 years. It is the region's largest and longest-running celebration of Martin Luther King and his legacy. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will appear with a chorus that includes members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and several other Western New York choruses. Erin Freeman, music director of the BP Chorus, will conduct works ranging from the traditional spiritual "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" to "I know that my Redeemer liveth" from Handel's Messiah to "Danse Negre" by Coleridge-Taylor.
The theme of the celebration is "The Man, The Dream, The Legacy." The second half of the program will feature a keynote speech by Mayor Byron Brown, and performances by The Hutchison Technical High School Band, Miss Barbara's School of Dance, and The African American Cultural Center Dancers. The BP Chorus will also perform on this half of the program.
Ten community leaders will be recognized with special Martin Luther King awards. Students from area schools will be volunteering during the event, and will also be recognized with Martin Luther King certificates.
"The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is honored to be performing at this event and celebrating Dr. King's legacy," said BPO Executive Director Daniel Hart. "In 1967, the UB Graduate Student Association brought Dr. King to Kleinhans to speak on the future of integration, and it's fitting that the Western New York community should gather here to honor him. It's important to take this time each year to reflect on our progress towards Dr. King's dream, and to begin to address what still needs to be done to reach this lofty goal he has set for all of us."