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The Cleveland Orchestra's Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert Returns January 16


Concert will feature the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Chorus, assembled and directed by Dr. William Henry Caldwell.

The Cleveland Orchestra's Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert Returns January 16

The Cleveland Orchestra's free, annual concert in celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. takes place in the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Concert Hall at Severance Music Center on Sunday, January 16, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. led by Associate Conductor Vinay Parameswaran featuring soprano Jacqueline Echols.

A highlight of this annual event is the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Chorus, an all-volunteer community chorus directed by Dr. William Henry Caldwell. This concert is sponsored by KeyBank.

This uplifting concert will showcase the music of prominent Black composers - such as Dolores White, Mary D. Watkins, Carlos Simon, Brian Raphael Nabors, William Grant Still, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor - as well as music in the African American spiritual tradition. The program concludes with James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson's beloved hymn "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

The previously announced live video stream of the January 16 concert will be replaced with a re-broadcast of the 2018 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration concert, see below for details and description.

Although the concert is free, tickets are required and available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning on Saturday, January 8, 2022, at 10:00 a.m., through the Severance Ticket Office in person, by phone at 216-231-1111 or 800-686-1141, or online at Due to the high demand, tickets to this concert go quickly. Typically, all tickets for this performance are distributed by noon on the day they are made available to the public. There is a limit of four tickets per household.

Assembled in 1989, the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Chorus unites singers from across Northeast Ohio to join together in song and perform on stage with The Cleveland Orchestra. Participation in this volunteer community chorus is open to all who love to sing and who can fully commit to the rehearsal schedule from January 7-16. Proof of vaccination is required for all chorus participants.

Registration for the MLK Community Chorus closes on December 6, 2021, and is available at this link. Those who do not have web-access can call the Orchestra's Education & Community Engagement Office at 216-231-7355 to register by phone.

The longstanding relationship between The Cleveland Orchestra and Ideastream Public Media continues, with audio of the January 16 concert to be broadcast live on 90.3 WCPN, WCLV Classical 104.9, and on, expanding access to this great music.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 2022 Community Service Awards will be presented as part of the January 16 concert. The awards are presented by The Cleveland Orchestra to individuals who have made a positive impact on the city of Cleveland in the spirit of the teachings and example of Dr. King. The awardees will be announced at the concert.

Severance Music Center will host a free Community Day on Monday, January 17, 2022, from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m., featuring performances by musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus, and a gospel ensemble. Guests are encouraged to share their hopes, dreams, and artwork on the "I Have a Dream" wall, and may take home a free coloring book.

From January 17 through February 28, full video of the 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert will be available to stream for free on Adella, The Cleveland Orchestra's streaming service. The Orchestra is joined by the MLK Celebration Chorus; host James Pickens, Jr., a Cleveland native best known for his portrayal of Dr. Richard Webber on TV's Grey's Anatomy; and guest soloist Ryan Speedo Green, called "a show stopper" by The New York Times. Highlights include two arrangements commissioned especially for the concert: "Down by the Riverside" and "Precious Lord, Take My Hand." This filmed concert is a production of WVIZ/PBS Ideastream Public Media in partnership with The Cleveland Orchestra.

The Cleveland Orchestra is committed to creating a safe and comfortable environment for its musicians, guests, audiences, staff, and volunteers. Everyone coming to Severance for concerts and events will be required to wear a mask. Guests will also be required to show proof of full Covid-19 vaccination.

Audience members ages 3 and older who cannot be vaccinated may provide proof of a negative test result received from a completed lab-certified antigen COVID-19 test within 24 hours prior to entering Severance, or a negative test result received from a completed PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering Severance.

For the most up to date information, please visit:

To ensure our audiences' experience with The Cleveland Orchestra is as safe as possible, we continue to consult with the Cleveland Clinic and local public health authorities for health and safety guidelines. These include, but are not limited to, meeting HV/AC air filtration and circulation system requirements, enhanced cleaning procedures, and providing hand sanitizer through the venue. As always, the safety of our audiences, musicians, staff, and volunteers remains our top priority.

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