Michigan State University honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through jazz

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan State University honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at its 42nd annual Jazz, Spirituals, Prayers, and Protest concert.

The sweet sounds of jazz music could be heard throughout the Fairchild Theater in East Lansing, where hundreds of people gathered for this event to honor the life and legacy of Dr King.

This concert is part of a week-long series of MSU event themes following Dr. King’s book, ‘Where do we go from here: chaos or community?

The event included performances by the MSU Jazz Orchestra with guest conductor and American jazz trumpeter Charles Tolliver and a performance by multi-genre recording artist, Damien Sneed.

Educators say jazz was born at a time when community and self-expression were of the utmost importance within African-American communities, and many jazz artists became activists during the rights movement civics, creating its soundtrack.

People who attended the event say it was just in time and brought unity.

“This event, the music and the inspiration they displayed are needed more than ever,” said Lansing resident Julian Vandyke.

“Even though we had to celebrate in some virtual formats, I’m so honored that we also had this format that was safe with all these regulations that allowed us to come together to enjoy these talented young people,” said Dr. Emilie Smith, director of MSU’s Youth Equity Project.

This is just one of many events this week honoring the life of Dr. King. MSU’s Office for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Initiatives will continue to celebrate through January 25.