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The 17th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, held Friday, Feb. 26, featured jazz and the spoken word, a praise dance, and song from University of Wisconsin-Parkside students. The event, honoring the life of Dr. King, was part of the BMO Harris Noon Concert Series in the Bedford Concert Hall. Thanks to the support of BMO Harris, the Noon Concert Series is offered each week during the academic year free of charge.
UW-Parkside jazz musician and composer Curtis Crump Jr., who was honored during the celebration, composed two jazz pieces for the event including "Dear Martin," featuring a spoken-word tribute by Parkside communication major Britney Woods.
Parkside students Joana Jackson, Braylon Green, LaShel Newkirk and Rodnay Owens provided background vocals. Crump's jazz combo included Cody Steinmann, Eliana Alcocer, Max Melendrez, Gloria Garay, Joe Moez, Ryan Breaker, Mark Jensen, and Russ Johnson. Woods, a communication major, was invited by Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin to attend President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address in January.
Sharon Perkins performed a praise dance titled "Encourage Yourself." UW-Parkside Music Professor and Director of Chorale Activities Dr. James Kinchen Jr., conducted the Voices of Parkside and University Chorale.
Watch "Dear Martin" featuring Woods' spoken-word tribute here (YouTube video).