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NPR To Offer 12th Annual Musical Tribute To The Life And Legacy Of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


“A King Celebration 2006,” Also Honoring Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks And Featuring a Specially-Commissioned Work, To be Broadcast Nationally on Monday, January 16

Washington, D.C. -- “A King Celebration 2006,” NPR’s 12th annual musical tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be broadcast nationally on Monday, January 16. This year’s celebration features the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO), the combined Glee Clubs of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges and a special NPR-commissioned arrangement of “We Shall Overcome.”

Additionally, the broadcast will pay tribute to the late civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks and the 1955 bus boycotts, initiated after her conviction for disobeying the city’s segregation ordinance and led by Dr. King, then a young, up-and-coming preacher.

Since 1994, NPR’s broadcast production of “A King Celebration” has become one of the best-known national tributes to Dr. King, highlighting the musical contributions of African-American artists and compositions which reflect the African-American experience. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the January 16 national holiday.

Hosted by Korva Coleman, NPR News newscaster and host of the NPR music series SymphonyCast, “A King Celebration 2006” will be recorded live at the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College in Atlanta on January 12 and broadcast four days later on more than 240 public radio stations nationally during Performance Today, NPR’s signature classical-music program, as well as at various times on other stations picking up the tribute. Additionally, the two-hour tribute will be available for live streaming and archived for one year on starting January 16. ASO Music Director Robert Spano conducts the concert for the fourth consecutive year.

This year’s featured music includes:

* NPR-commissioned arrangement of “We Shall Overcome” by Dr. Uzee Brown, Jr., Chairman of the Music Department at Morehouse College, Dr. King’s alma mater, and Music Director of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King famously preached.
* Selections from “Slavery Documents” by T.J. Anderson, ASO’s first composer-in-residence.
* Rising American composer Jennifer Higdon’s “Dooryard Bloom” featuring baritone Nmon Ford.
* The Third Symphony - incorporating the famous “Fanfare for the Common Man” by Aaron Copland.

Again this year, the concert is produced in partnership with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Glee Clubs of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change. Support for the broadcast comes from GE Energy, with additional support by ING and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The history and impact of Dr. King will be also featured January 16 on NPR programs including News & Notes with Ed Gordon, Weekend Edition Sunday and Talk of the Nation.

“A King Celebration 2006” continues NPR Music’s commitment to showcase music representing the best of American roots. Among its recent offerings was the November 2005 live broadcast of the Washington National Opera’s new production of the George Gershwin opera “Porgy and Bess,” the radio production of the “Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Concert” benefit for Hurricane Katrina, and last month’s New Year’s Eve 12-hour special “Toast of the Nation,” live from New Orleans and featuring many local performers.

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