The Sound of Freedom

Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement Concert
Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement Concert

The Dallas Examiner

The sound of freedom rang out from the stage of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center during the 33rd annual Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement Concert on the evening of Jan. 17.

The program was an emotion-packed musical tribute to the iconic drum major for justice, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Presented by The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, it combines dancing and singing to highlight the life and work of King and his mission.

Curtis King, TBAAL president and founder who created the program 33 years ago, was the director. Jiles King II produced it.

The concert was influenced by the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. During the early years of the program, legendary artists, such as Earth Kitt, Jennifer Holliday, Peabo Bryson and Lola Falana shared their talents during the civil rights celebration.

More recent artists that have graced the stage during the program include but are not limited to Tevin Campbell, Lalah Hathaway, Kelly Price, Fantasia, Ruben Studdard, Chrisette Michele & Ledisi, CeCe Winans and Erykah Badu.

It also includes performances by local choirs and dancers.

Last year, it earned a second Emmy Nomination in the Arts and Entertainment Program category.

This year’s concert guest featured singer, songwriter and producer Rahsaan Patterson and R&B, new jack swing singer Tony Terry.

Patterson has released five albums, but his album entitled Wines & Spirits placed him at the top of the R&B underground.

Terry has been in the industry for over a decade. His first single, She’s Fly, landed top 10 on the R&B charts and his follow-up single, Lovey Dovey, earned fourth place on the R&B charts.

The concert aired not only in Dallas but in Houston, Baltimore, Washington, Norfolk, Detroit and Philadelphia for the 11th year in a row. It began with greetings from TBAAL board chair Barbara Steele.

CBS 11 News Anchor Steve Pickett was the narrator of the concert. The concert was divided into three different parts – creatively offering a musical glimpse of the trials and triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement. It opened up with the choir singing Selma March followed by A Man with a Dream, a solo by Nathan Myers.

Part I consisted of solos that soulfully reflected on “Freedom … The Civil Rights Movement Then.” Patterson started Feelin’ Good, followed by Oh Feedom. Terry followed up with Nobody’s Fault but Mine and Rev. Darrell Blair performed We’ll Understand It Better By and By.

Part II offered inspiring performances that focued on “Freedom … The Civil Rights Movement and the Dawning of a New Day,” that included another choir performance of Jacob’s Ladder and Hold On. Terry performed Amen and shared his rendition of This Little Light of Mine. After a choral performance of Take It to the Lord in Prayer, soloist Candy West performed Lord, I Wanna Thank You with praise dancers.

The ambience of the room was filled with joy and praises.

Part III of the concert, which focused on “Hallelujah Praise! From Whence We Have Come,” began with TBAAL’s Young Gifted & Black Artist performing I Know Where I’ve Been. Terry, Patterson and Traylor performed as well.

The concert ended with a duet with both Terry and Patterson singing If God Be for Us.


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