The Kimmel Center celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with an annual free celebration of music, spoken word, and dance for Philadelphia students. This year we talked to the Kimmel Center’s Manager of Education, Carol Frazier, to find out more about the history of the event and what goes into planning this important tribute.
This year marks the 15th MLK Tribute Concert. How has this tradition evolved? How do you go about planning this each year?
For 15 years the Education department has sought ways to honor the legacy of Dr. King through a dazzling display of artistic performances designed to stimulate the minds of young students. In recent years we have put greater emphasis on tying the performances together in ways that bring greater attention to the teachings and beliefs of Dr. King. In planning for the event we seek out student talent and artistic expression along with some of Philadelphia’s finest artists who also have a strong commitment to education and the arts.
How do you find talent to perform in the concert/create the program?
We have the great fortune to get into the schools through way of our vast education programs. I also have opportunity to attend school concerts and public arts events. When we encounter outstanding performers be it students or adults we extend the invitation to perform on the matinee concert. The Kimmel center stages are not just for professionals, but they are an entrance to up and coming young artists who dare to dream to be on stage. We do our best to facilitate those dreams especially on behalf of our youth.
How many students do you expect this year and where do they come from?
We expect over 500 students in public, parochial, charter and private schools from the city and beyond.
What are you most looking forward to about this year’s concert?
We are looking forward to seeing the expressions of delight and appreciation for both Dr. King and also for the performers who will bring everything from jazz to tap to spoken word to high-powered vocals and more!
(Photos from our 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tribute)