Kimmel Center's Expands 16th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration

Kimmel Center's Expands 16th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is the place to be for schools and students celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Growing its annual celebration from one matinee event to four, the Kimmel Center is expanding its offerings for local Philadelphia school students, incorporating song, dance, spoken word, and video into a repertoire intended to educate and inspire those attending. The four concerts will take place over two days on Thursday, January 11 and Friday, January 12, at 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. each day. These concerts are not open to the public, but would be great photo and video opportunities.

"Education and reaching the student community of Philadelphia is at the heart of our Kimmel Center mission to transform lives daily through the arts," said Anne Ewers, President and CEO of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. "We are overjoyed that this annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s work, life, and legacy has grown from one to four shows, welcoming even more young people onto our Cultural Campus and reaching them with diverse artistic expressions."

These memorial events will include performances by the following artists:

Kimmel Center's Creative Music Program for Jazz (Blue and Magenta Ensembles), made up of students ages 12-18. Blue Ensemble will perform in the January 11concerts with "Little Man" (composed by Charles Fambrough); "Cornbread" (composed by Evan Sweitzer); and "Del Rio" (composed B. Russell Gunn). Magenta Ensemble will perform in the January 12 concerts with "Kimmelisms 1" and "Continuous Forces" (composed by Maria Grand).

Returning spoken word artist, Nikki Powerhouse will perform "A child called Freedom"

Tap dancers Jaye Alison and Robert F. Burden, Jr., will demonstrate busking - an interactive tap routine performed on street corners and before public audiences

Vocalist Taylor Samuels (accompanied by Kimmel Center Education Manager Carol Frazier)

Storytelling by spoken word artist Jos Duncan will perform "Lucretia Could Fly"

Video tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malala Yousafzai from Kimmel Center Teaching Artist James Davis

Below are event details and performers:


Perelman Theater in the Kimmel Center

Thursday, January 11 - 10:30 a.m. & 12:00 p.m.

Friday, January 12 - 10:30 a.m. & 12:00 p.m.

The Kimmel Center Creative Music Program for Jazz (CMP)

Now in its eighth year, CMP consists of three ensembles of students ages 12-18. The students study with renowned teaching artists and perform at the Kimmel Center and other jazz venues within the city of Philadelphia. CMP is known for performing both legacy and original compositions written by faculty and students alike. The Creative Music Program is led by Kimmel Center staff Anthony Tidd, Jazz Artistic Advisor, and Brent White, Jazz Education Programs Coordinator.

Nikki Powerhouse

Philadelphia native from the heart of North Philly, Nikki Powerhouse is a creative force that speaks to the human spirit. She received her BA in Theater and Communication from Temple University. Her credits include her one-woman show "The Art of I AM" at the Painted Bride and as an off-Broadway show in NYC with United Solo Festival. Also, she has written a poetry book entitled The Sun in the Mirror: Poetry as Memoir and a personal journal book I AM Healing. Along with her acting skills, she is the Creative Director of I AM Powerhouse, LLC. Her mission with her company is to use her artistic expression to educate, empower and mentor people to live the life they were destined to live. Currently she is planning 2018 #TourIAM. This year will mark her third appearance at the MLK concert. Her interactive delivery of Spoken Word and original creations have been a favorite of young audiences for years.

Jaye Allison

Jaye Allison, MFA, Founder of JADA Dance, Native Philadelphian and Independent artist currently performs with Legendary Tap Dance groups: New Jersey Tap Ensemble and the 2nd Generation Silver Belles with whom her photograph is proudly displayed on the Historic walls of the Cotton Club in Harlem, NYC. Her recent credits include: Casting Director for youth talents in the Philadelphia run of Maurice Hines Jr. is Tapping Through Life, Tap Choreographer for the Wilma Theater productions of Leslye Headland's Assistance and Theresa Rebeck's The Understudy. Jaye is the co-creator of LEJA DANCE THEATRE's Christmas holiday hit show Carols in Color running more than 25 years. Continuing to expand her tap knowledge, she redeveloped a National Tap Dance Festival locally, under the name Jaye Allison's Philly TAP Challenge "ON FIRE!" Jaye is a former student of the legendary Tap artist LaVaughn Robinson.

Robert F. Burden, Jr.

Robert F. Burden, Jr. is the founder and artistic director of Tap Team Two and Company, a Philadelphia tap company which has been in existence since 1992. Robert has performed and taught all over the world and was a teacher at the University of the Arts for over 20 years. He passes on the Philadelphia street hoofing style as well as the teachings and "etudes" of the late LaVaughn Robinson. He is a Philadelphia dance treasure, and is on staff at Sound Space Dance Studio.

Taylor Samuels

Taylor Samuels is a vocalist/music director on the rise. The Philadelphia native has begun to make her mark on the performing arts scene in her hometown. She has been performing with and directing with local production companies including John Graves productions and (formerly) New Freedom Theatre, churches and artistic collectives. She recently returned from a semester as Music Director of Yale University Dramatic Association's production of Dreamgirls. She is currently performing in John Graves Productions Black Kid Joy as the legendary voice of Mahalia Jackson. Taylor's faith and love for art have been the driving forces behind her achievements. It's always her aim to point her audience in the right direction--UP.

Jos Duncan

Jos Duncan is a multimedia producer, social entrepreneur, and Chief Storyteller at Love Now Media (2016), a social enterprise with a mission to tell stories through media production and communications initiatives that lean towards justice, wellness, and equity. She has received recognition for her artistic work through awards and fellowships from the American Folklore Society, New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT), Colin Powell Center for Public Policy, PA Council on the Arts, Small But Mighty Arts, the Leeway Foundation and a fellowship with the Knight Foundation to participate in The Sundance Institute's Screenwriting Intensive in Philadelphia and at the festival in Park City, Utah.

Jos' educational work has included teaching curriculum courses at Educational Video Center, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, University of the Arts, and the University of Pennsylvania. She is is currently an Adjunct Professor at Temple University where she teaches in the Klein School of Media Studies. Her current creative projects include developing 2 web series (Revolutionary Love Stories and Believe) and a feature film (Wanaki).

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia, the Kimmel Center's mission is to operate a world-class performing arts center that engages and serves a broad audience through diverse programming, arts education, and community outreach. The Kimmel Center Campus is comprised of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, SEI Innovation Studio, and the Merck Arts Education Center), the Academy of Music (owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association), and the Merriam Theater. The Kimmel Center is also home to eight Resident Companies: The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Ballet, The Philly POPS, PHILADANCO, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Curtis Institute of Music. With nearly 9,000 seats per night, The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is the region's most impactful performing arts center, and the second largest in the country. TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is the season sponsor of the Kimmel Center's 2017-2018 Season. American Airlines is the official airline of Broadway Philadelphia. For additional information, visit

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