Middlebury

Middlebury College celebrates the life of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 3, 2007

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Middlebury College will join the rest of the nation this month to honor Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with several events, including a concert and talk on Monday, Jan. 15, that will evoke the enduring spirit of the civil rights leader. All events are free and open to the public.

At 12:15 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, a tribute to King, titled "Remembrance and Reflection," will take place in Mead Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). The program will feature a talk by Middlebury College Dean for Institutional Diversity Shirley M. Ramirez. Other highlights include remarks by Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz and Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, a 1972 Middlebury graduate; excerpts from King's speeches read by Middlebury College students; and a musical tribute from Middlebury College Alexander Twilight Artist-in-Residence François Clemmons. Immediately following the event, there will be a reception in the Social Space in McCullough Student Center.

At 7 p.m., "Let Freedom Sing! A Celebration of the American Negro Spiritual and the Life and Words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." will take place. The program will combine a dramatic oration of King's speeches by New York-based actor Esau Pritchett with choir music directed by Clemmons, who will also perform solos. Mark Nash, Artistic Director of Vermont Stage Company, will read the words of Mahatma Gandhi. The choir, whose more than 80 members are local residents as well as Middlebury College faculty, staff and students, will perform music that includes authentic American Negro spirituals popular during the civil rights movement in America. The concert will take place in Mead Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125).

A versatile performer, Clemmons is the founder of the Harlem Spiritual Ensemble, and the creator of the role of the friendly police officer, Officer Clemmons, on the Emmy Award-winning television show, "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood." Clemmons is currently teaching a winter term course at Middlebury titled "The History of the American Negro Spiritual and Its Influence on Western Civilization."

Vermont audiences know Pritchett as the title character in Montpelier-based Lost Nation Theatre's production of "Othello," and as Tom Robinson in the Vermont Stage Company's "To Kill a Mockingbird." He has extensive television, film and theater credits, including an appearance in an episode of the television series "Law and Order."

Mike Kiernan, a local physician and lifelong admirer of King, adapted King's speeches to retrace the civil rights leader's journey from Montgomery to Memphis. Combined with Clemmons' music, the result is effective and moving. "To hear King's words spoken from the pulpit, framed in the musical world from which they come, is truly inspirational," said Kiernan.

From Jan. 12-19, there will be a display of books related to King in the lobby of the Middlebury College Library on Storrs Avenue off South Main Street (Route 30).

For more information, contact Jennifer Herrera in the Middlebury College Office for Institutional Diversity at (802) 443-5743.

To follow are events calendar listings.

Middlebury College Events
in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Friday, Jan. 12-Friday, Jan. 19
Book Display
 
Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-1 a.m.
Display of books related to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Middlebury College Library Lobby, located on Storrs Avenue off South Main Street (Route 30)

Middlebury College Events
in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Friday, Jan. 12-Friday, Jan. 19
Book Display
 
Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-1 a.m.
Display of books related to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Middlebury College Library Lobby, located on Storrs Avenue off South Main Street (Route 30)

Monday, Jan. 15
12:15 p.m.  "Remembrance and Reflection"
Tribute to King featuring a talk by Middlebury College Dean for Institutional Diversity Shirley Ramirez; remarks by Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz and Vermont Governor Jim Douglas; excerpts from King's speeches read by students; and music by Middlebury College Alexander Twilight Artist-in-Residence François Clemmons. Reception to follow.
Tribute: Mead Chapel, located on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125)
Reception: Social Space, McCullough Student Center, located on Old Chapel Road off College Street (Route 125)
 
7 p.m. Concert and Readings: "Let Freedom Sing! A Celebration of the American Negro Spiritual and the Life and Words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."
A program directed and adapted by Mike Kiernan combines a dramatic reading of King's speeches by actor Esau Pritchett with solos and choir music directed by Middlebury College Alexander Twilight Artist-In-Residence François Clemmons. Mark Nash, Artistic Director of Vermont Stage Company, will read the words of Mahatma Gandhi. A choir of local residents and college faculty, staff and students, will perform authentic American Negro spirituals.  
Mead Chapel, located on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125)

All events are free and open to the public.  For more information, contact Jennifer Herrera in the Middlebury College Office for Institutional Diversity at 802-443-5743.