Behind-the-Scenes of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Dedication Choir Final Rehearsal
GospelCity was one of the media outlets given the opportunity for a behind-the-scenes first look at the music selected to commemorate Dr. King’s life and legacy. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Dedication Choir is multi-generational, multi-ethnic group of vocalists, ages 13 to 75. The final rehearsal was held at Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C.
This interview was conducted before the original Dr. King Memorial Dedication Ceremony on August 28, 2011. The Dr. King Memorial Dedication Ceremony has been rescheduled to October 16, 2011 on the anniversary of the Million Man March.
GospelCity talked with the music directory for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial Dedication Choir, Reverend Nolan Williams, Jr. Rev. Williams is a musicologist, producer, and songwriter whose creative musical output spans from television, film, and stage projects to collaborations with some of the leading artists, arts institutions and symphony orchestras of our times. Regarded as a leading authority on music in the Black Church, Williams is chief music editor of the best selling African American Heritage Hymnal and associate editor of the newly-released hymnal Total Praise and worship liturgist for the African American Lectionary. Williams is also CEO of NEWorks (‘NEW work’) Productions.
GospelCity: Nolan, what was your reaction when you found out you was selected to be the music director for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Dedication Choir?
Nolan Williams: You know… it just didn’t happen that clear cut. Kinda of what happened originally was there was some talk about involving my group Voices of Inspiration and my own services helping do a few things. Then it kind of evolved from there. I’m grateful to Aisha Davis and to DESHO Productions for really believing that I was the person to do this. As things evolved they basically gave me the charge. It has been a great partnership working with her team and working with the King Memorial Foundation. I think they chose me because of the Let Freedom Ring Celebration that took place at the Kennedy Center for the last 22 years. That has become one of the most celebrated King’s Celebrations in the country. We’ve had two sitting presidents to attend the celebration including President Obama last year.
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