The Ninth Annual Let Freedom Sing! concerts celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., two different days at two different sites. The sites were Ebenezer Baptist Church, in the Hill District and Franklin Regional High School, in Murrysville.
The concerts, held last month, featured acclaimed visual and performance artist Vanessa German, The Heritage Gospel Chorale of Pittsburgh, and the MLK Festival Choir–comprised of combined high school, community and church choirs from city and suburbs. In addition, the concert featured the Family and Friends Choir under the direction of Parrish Davenport. One of the concerts even featured renowned jazz vocalist Etta Cox.
All donations benefited the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and the Westmoreland County Food Bank.
Collaborating again on the Let Freedom Sing! concerts were co-artistic directors Rev. Dr. Herbert V.R.P. Jones, director of The Pittsburgh Gospel Choir, and Kris Rust, director of choirs, Franklin Regional High School. More than a dozen musical selections are woven with the stirring performance of German, an award-winning artist. Let Freedom Sing! brought the city and suburbs together, blending performers and audience members of varied ages, races and creeds to realize King’s dream.
“This concert series empowers all of us to come together through music and find unity and love in the face of segregation, economic injustice, and racial tension,” said Rust. “Unity and love are ideas that Dr. King stressed in his work and we lift up these ideas in our singing.”
The MLK Festival Choir is made up of singers from the Family & Friends Choir, Franklin Regional High School Chorus, Greater Pittsburgh Universal Unitarian Churches, the Lemington Chorale, The Heritage Gospel Chorale of Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh CAPA High School.
The Heritage Gospel Chorale of Pittsburgh, under the direction of Rev. Jones, co-artistic director of Let Freedom Sing!, is acclaimed for its inspirational performances of American Gospel music throughout Western Pennsylvania. Through its engagement of singers of all ages, races, and ethnicities, the chorale serves and cultivates diverse choir membership and audiences by infusing an appreciation of gospel music, including new works and arrangements. Founded in 2007 as The Pittsburgh Gospel Choir, the chorale was the first regional ensemble dedicated to the genre.
The photos pictured above were taken at the Let Freedom Sing! concert held at Ebenezer Baptist on Jan. 16.
On the celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 18, the concert was held at Franklin Regional High School.