Concert to highlight King's life

Ball State University and the Muncie community will be able to hear first hand accounts of the civil rights movement from Muncie natives along with musical performances in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. at 8 p.m. in Sursa Performance Hall.

The Office of Institutional Diversity and the School of Music are sponsoring the Martin Luther King Memorial Concert to honor the many achievements made throughout his life.

The Rev. H. Royce Mitchell, president of the Coalition of Concerned Clergy, will give opening remarks. The concert will highlight the challenges faced during the civil rights movement with musical accompaniment from community members, Ball State students and faculty.

Charles Payne, assistant provost of diversity and director of the Office of Institutional Diversity, said music is a powerful way to tell history.

"Music is always a great way to capture historical events," he said. "Looking over the songs, I recall myself participating in the civil rights protests and singing some of the songs. It is a historical journey."

Meryl Mantione, the director of the School of Music and professor of music performance, said the concert is featuring a wide variety of music styles.

"There will be everything from soloists to four different choral organizations including gospel and mixed choir," she said. "The performances are of a good variety. We even have a piece that was written by a composition student for electronic music."

The concert will feature the Ball State School of Music Concert Choir, the Voices of Triumph Gospel Choir and Planet Earth Singers of Muncie performing "Music of the Civil Rights Era."

In addition to music, Payne was able to do interviews with individual members of the community who witnessed the changes made by the civil rights movement.

"Rather than talk about the experiences of people that we don't know, we wanted to get the point across that the civil rights movement wasn't something other people did, but something Muncie did too," Payne said.

Mantione said it is useful for people to hear from others who lived during the civil rights movement because everyone has a different set of experiences.

"I like to be reminded what people have to deal with on a regular basis," she said. "While things have improved and changed there is still discrimination. It is important to hear what people experienced and how they have come out on the other side."

Who: Free and open to the public
What: Martin Luther King Memorial Concert
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Sursa Performance Hall

Faculty artists:
Meryl Mantione - mezzo-soprano
Paul Reilly - guitar
Mei Zhong - soprano
Lori Rhoden - piano
Mark Buselli - jazz trumpet
Frank Puzzullo - piano

Student Ensembles and Soloists:
Ball State University Concert Choir - Andrew Crow, conductor
Sterlyng Powell - marimba
MarTeze D. Hammonds - vocalist
Joseph Diehl - tenor
Barbara Briner-Jones - piano
Voices of Triumph Choir

Community Performers:
Planet Earth Singers - Douglas Amman, conductor
Union Missionary Baptist Church Choir - Virginia Leavell, director


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