Concert pays tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

On the night of Jan. 21, in a packed auditorium, DMACC hosted “Sing, Ebenezer! The songs and stories from Martin Luther King’s Neighborhood.”

The DMACC choir was joined by three special guests: former assistant minister Albert Paul Brinson, soprano singer Sherry Dukes, Broadway performer Roosevelt Andre Credit, and world-renowned opera singer Simon Estes, who has been teaching at DMACC since 2016. Bridges 2 Harmony Gospel Choir from Roosevelt High School also performed.

“Sing, Ebenezer!” was an ode to the life and the culture that King lived in and helped change. Brinson and Dukes, who grew up with King, shared stories between each song.

Simon Estes got the show going with his deep and commanding voice with the song “Precious Lord,” which featured DMACC’s choir director James Thompson on piano. Estes then told a brief story of how he went and saw the wife and family of King on that fatal day back in April of 1968. This set the tone for the rest of the concert. For the whole night, the audience was captivated in both story and in song.

World-renowned opera singer and DMACC visiting professor Simon Estes performs at the Sing, Ebenezer! concert in the Building 6 auditorium on Jan. 21. Photo provided by Dan Ivis.

Thompson said via email that he believed all performers were fantastic, adding, “Personally, I was captivated in listening to Rev. Dr. Al Brinson. Having served as one of the ministers at Ebenezer Baptist Church with Rev. King, Sr. and Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Brinson was able to provide first-hand accounts of his personal interactions with the King family.”

The DMACC choir was led out onto the stage and sang a rendition of the song “John Saw the Number,” and then shortly after, the Bridges 2 Harmony Gospel Choir came out and sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho.”

With each song, the audience was soon put into the culture and times that King and so many others lived through. The stage was then set for Brinson, Dukes, and Credit to take the DMACC auditorium by storm.

The song chosen by the three guests were split into two categories that would help the audience understand the meaning behind the songs, and why they were so imperative to the stories they were telling. The categories the songs were split into were “History of Ebenezer Baptist Church and The King Family,” and “The Civil Rights Movement”.

“Made in the Water” was sung by Credit; his energy and voice burst through the DMACC auditorium brick walls like a wrecking ball, as if it commanded the audience to sing and clap along. After his performance, the audience could not resist, and had to let out one more “Whoo” just to simply catch their breaths.

For AA Liberal Arts Major and singer Megan Conrad, this was a special concert: “The reason this concert means so much is because it marked the start of the black population being recognized as human.”

She said that it is important to remember those who have sacrificed for their beliefs and protected the rights of others, adding, “Martin Luther King Jr. was a wonderful example of the power of prayer, and a reminder that wars can be won without violence.”

By the end of the show, the audience was on their feet, clapping, and Brinson left the audience with one last thing that King said to him, and that was, “It is never about you, it is always about others.”

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