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January 17, 2011

A musical reminder of the message behind MLK Day

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would have been impressed with the strides made in civil rights since 1968. But he would not be surprised that there's still more work to be done, more struggles to be won on many fronts in many places. That's why the song so associated with King, "We Shall Overcome," still has the power to move. It's worth being reminded on that song, that message on this MLK Day.

I came across an unusual performance of "We Shall Overcome" that I thought I'd share here. It features a pop music icon as soloist --

Diana Ross -- in an orchestra/choral arrangement that expands effectively on the old spiritual. (If the Baltimore Symphony ever resumes its tradition of giving MLK concerts, this arrangement would be a nice addition, even without such an exalted soloist.) This particular performance comes from a 1996 concert in Budapest, nicely illustrating how the music easily crosses boundaries.

Posted by Tim Smith at 7:35 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes
        

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at baltimoresun.com/artsmash. This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
View the Artsmash blog
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