Helen Slade of New York’s Cotton Club brought the audience to its feet with songs such as “We Shall Overcome” at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert on Sunday, Jan. 15 in the Wakefield High School auditorium. In a highlight of the evening, Slade invited children from the audience to dance and sing with her on stage.
Photo by Hung Ngo
With song, speech and dance, the Arlington community celebrated the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the 48th consecutive year.
The sold-out MLK Tribute Concert occurred Sunday, Jan. 15 at the Wakefield High School auditorium. The audience ranged from performers’ family members, to local civil rights activists, to County Board and School Board members.
This year, the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation teamed up with Lashley Consulting to bring local and national talent to the stage.
Performers included singers and spoken word artists from around the country, but highlighted local artists such as alumni from Washington’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts, instrumentalists from the music program at George Mason University, and dancers from Alexandria’s Worship Without Words mime ministry.
The musical performances were punctuated with short speeches from Arlington’s County and School Board members. County Board Vice-Chair Katie Cristol emphasized that a strong community is built upon a commitment to service, while County Board member Libby Garvey underscored that progress is impossible without accepting uncertainty.
When he took the stage, County Board member John Vihstadt said that “Arlington is a place where anyone can come and [. . .] exercise their rights without fear.” he added that through remembering our past “we can empower our community to stand up and take charge.”
The night also featured several video segments. One video featured the work of students who contributed to this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Literary and Visual Arts Contest. Another featured Arlington Chief of Police Jay Farr speaking about ACPD’s dedication to community involvement.
Towards the end of the evening the Duke Ellington Alumni Choir encouraged the audience to stand with them for a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”