NAPERVILLE – Chicago Sinfonietta, joined by numerous guest artists, will present an “MLK Tribute Concert,” celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 19 and 20 in Naperville and Chicago.
Featuring guest conductor Jonathon Rush and his sister, Kymberli Joye, a vocalist and semifinalist on NBC’s “The Voice,” Chicago Sinfonietta’s concert will offer several pieces getting to the heart of King’s vision for the world and creating a dialogue intending to spark action from audience members, a news release stated.
The program will include Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain,” inspired by King’s final words of his last public speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” Other highlights include the Chicago premiere of Joel Thompson’s “The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed,” a moving testament to those lost to police violence. It is followed by “Glory,” the Academy Award-winning piece by John Legend and Common from the film “Selma.” Both works will be performed with the orchestra by the Adrian Dunn Singers.
The traditional spiritual titled “Deep River” will be conducted by Chicago Sinfonietta music director Mei-Ann Chen. Leading the nation in programming works by women and diverse, under-represented composers, Chicago Sinfonietta is described as the nation’s most diverse orchestra.
The second half of the concert will present the final movement of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”), highlighting the voices of the North Central College Concert Choir and Roosevelt University Conservatory Chorus, with soloists Leah Dexter, mezzo-soprano, and Summer Hassan, soprano.
“The Chicago Sinfonietta has grand plans for this season’s ‘MLK Tribute Concert’ with five potent works, three singers, three choirs and one symphony premiere,” Chen stated in the release. “In this annual remembrance of a champion of civil rights and the important social issues of today, we present an unforgettable program covering an enormous range of emotions conveyed through the widest spectrum of sonic experiences.
“We are especially thrilled to present the Chicago premiere of Joel Thompson’s powerful ‘Seven Last Words of the Unarmed’ and in another Sinfonietta first welcome three choruses to join the orchestra on stage as we close the concert raising our voices for a better tomorrow,” she said.
Chicago Sinfonietta will repeat the concert at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
If you go
WHAT: Chicago Sinfonietta’s “MLK Concert Tribute”
WHERE: Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville
WHEN: 3 p.m. Jan. 19
COST: $10 to $62 when purchased in advance online