MLK Jr. Celebration Concert in second year at Morris

MLK Jr. Celebration Concert in second year at Morris

by Christina Clark

Every year on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, we take time to reflect on King’s message and role in the civil rights movement, and this year is no exception. In IU South Bend’s continuing partnership with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra (SBSO), Marvin Curtis, dean of the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts, will share the spotlight the IU South Bend choirs, SBSO, SPHINX competition winner Maria Sanderson, violin, with Chelsea Tipton II. Rodney Marsalis, trumpet, will also be joining the Symphony to debut a piece composed by Curtis. The concert will take place at The Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend, at 7 pm on Monday, January 17, 2017.

The first handful of years that the SBSO and IU South Bend put together this celebration concert, it was held on campus. It has grown significantly, and is for the second year being held at The Morris.

“Every year that we do this, the Symphony brings the SPHINX competition winner in to join it, so we get the Junior Laureate. SPHINX is an organization for African American and Hispanic string players,” Curtis explains, “this year’s winner is Maria Sanderson. She plays in Cinncinatti the night before and comes to us.”

“The choirs usually sing the program composed of African American composers, and then we always do a piece at the end with the Symphony. This year The concert is being conducted by myself and Chelsea Tipton II, who is from Houston, TX,” Curtis says. “Tipton will be doing the first half of the program and I’m doing the second. We are going to premiere a new work that I wrote called ‘Fantasy for Trumpet.’ The trumpet player, Rodney Marcellus, is coming to us from Philadelphia. This is the first time that I’ve done a piece like this.”

Tipton is “celebrating his eighth season as Music Director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas in Beaumont,” according to his biography at “In addition to his work here in Beaumont, he is the Principal Pops Conductor of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.”

In adition too earning 1st Place Laureate in the 2016 Sphinx Competition, Maria Sanderson also recently won the Rising Star Competition and the Bloomington Symphony Competition. Sanderson has attended Indiana University’s String Academy for nine years and is presently a member of the String Academy Violin Virtuosi.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Concert will take place on Monday, January 16, 2017 at 7 pm. Come celebrate Dr. King and the diversity in our community with the SBSO, choirs of IU South Bend, and guest conductors and performers. The concert is free to students and children (with purchase of an adult ticket), and $10 for all others.