MSU Jazz Concerts and Events to Honor MLK and Maya Angelou

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Saturday, January 18, 2020, 12:48 pm
Sarah Spohn

Photo courtesy of Michael Sundermann of MSU College of Music Communications Office.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the MSU College of Music presents their annual concert honoring the life and legacy of MLK. Two jazz concerts will take place on Sunday, Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. (SOLD-OUT), and 7 p.m. in the MSU Auditorium’s Fairchild Theatre (located at 524 Auditorium Road, East Lansing).

The event, titled Jazz: Spirituals, Prayer, and Protest, is in conjunction with a college-wide celebratory series of events from Jan. 18-24, based on Maya Angelou’s famous work, “Still I Rise.” The series is put on by MSU’s Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. Both African American civil rights activists continue to resonate with people decades later as apparent in the theme for this year’s concert.

“It is very fitting that we draw on the inspiring words ‘Still I Rise’ of artist-activist Maya Angelou given that 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the right for women to vote and the 150th anniversary of the first female students enrolling at MSU,” said Rodney Whitaker, University Distinguished Professor of jazz bass and director of the MSU Jazz Studies program, in a press release. “Women have always been major contributors to the development of our culture, society and music, and our program at this year’s performances will reflect that fact.”

The MSU Jazz Orchestra II will be performing, conducted by Michael Dease. Featured program guests include speaker A. Van Jordan, American poet and professor of English Language & Literature at the University of Michigan; Tiffany Gridiron, vocals; Robyn Smith, trombone; and Nicole Glover, tenor saxophone. Gina Benalcazar, Christopher Glassman, and Jordyn Davis provided arranged jazz compositions.

The event is free, but ticketed, with the 3 p.m. concert already sold out. Remaining tickets for the 7 p.m. concert will be made available at the door. Unclaimed will call tickets will be released 10 minutes prior to the event.

For more information on the Jazz concert, visit the event page. For more information on the 40th Annual Celebration of MLK Day list of events, visit their page.
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