MLK “Reflect & Rejoice” tribute Jan. 20, 2013

Two new works by UAB University Professor of Music Henry Panion III, Ph.D., will be among the first in a series of efforts in 2013 to commemorate the seminal events of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham.

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As an institution committed to service, excellence, diversity and community involvement, UAB is a proud partner with the City of Birmingham in 50 Years Forward, the ongoing commemoration. Panion has been commissioned by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra (ASO) to compose the works for “Reflect & Rejoice,” the ASO’s annual tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013, at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center, a cultural center that unites UAB and the Birmingham community.

“Here We Are,” composed for a small girls’ ensemble or female lead, with choir and orchestra, is based around the spiritual “Give Me Jesus,” Panion said. It opens with a brief, celebratory gospel feel, “reflective of what was the probable scene of the church service the Sunday morning the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed,” he said. The church was bombed Sept. 15, 1963 at 10:22 a.m.

“Send Me Hope” is written in a popular gospel style and features the rich contralto voice of rising gospel artist Maquita Anthony, who co-wrote the song with Panion, Clinton Green and Marc Raby. Backed by the Aeolians of Oakwood College, Panion said he arranged and orchestrated this work to serve as a bookend of sorts with “Here We Are.”

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