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Cleveland Orchestra to perform 37th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert on January 15

Thomas Wilkins conducts program at Severance Hall featuring the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Chorus assembled and directed by William Henry Caldwell

Tickets for the FREE concert are available on January 3, 2017, beginning at 9:00 a.m. at Severance Hall Ticket Office

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 2017 Community Service Awards to be presented at concert

LIVE Broadcast of concert on WCLV 104.9 and WCPN 90.3 ideastream®

FREE Community Open House at Severance Hall on Monday, January 16, presents music and family-friendly activities from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

League of American Orchestras’ Feeding America Food Drive to take place in January

Release:  December 20, 2016

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Orchestra’s 37th annual concert in celebration of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. takes place at Severance Hall on Sunday, January 15, at 7:00 p.m., under the direction of Thomas Wilkins.  The program features music by Peter Boyer, Kurt Carr, Antonín Dvořák, Duke Ellington, Charles Floyd, and Morton Gould, as well as traditional spirituals and gospel songs.  Cellist Thomas Mesa, first-place winner in the Senior Division of the 2016 Sphinx Competition for Black and Latino string players, performs as soloist, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Chorus, assembled, prepared, and directed by William Henry Caldwell, will also perform.  The Chorus is an all-Cleveland community, volunteer chorus that brings together a wide range of choristers from local churches as well as members of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and Blossom Festival Chorus. 

ideastream® Radio Broadcast
Beginning at 7:00 p.m., the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert on January 15 will be broadcast live on radio on WCLV Classical 104.9 and 90.3 WCPN ideastream®. 

14th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. 2017 Community Service Awards
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 2017 Community Service Awards will be presented at the start of the concert by Mayor Frank G. Jackson.  The awards are presented by The Cleveland Orchestra and the City of Cleveland, in cooperation with the Greater Cleveland Partnership, to individuals who are positively impacting Cleveland in the spirit of the teachings and example of Dr. King.

Free Community Open House at Severance Hall on Monday, January 16
A free Community Open House takes place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 16, 2017 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Severance Hall.  Performances and family activities will take place throughout the day. Performances by the Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus, Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus, El Sistema@Rainey, Cleveland Inner City Ballet, Councilman Conwell & The Footprints, and the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra will take place in the Concert Hall.  Family activities include the “I Have a Dream” Wall and a Martin Luther King Jr. Book Display by Cuyahoga County Public Library in Smith Lobby, and Rock the House – DJ and Line Dancing in the Bogomolny-Kozerefski Grand Foyer.  For additional information on the groups performing and activities of the open house, please see the Calendar Listing section below or visit

Parking Information
Parking in the CWRU Campus Center Garage (Lot 29, adjacent to Severance Hall) for the January 15 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert will be available for free, on a first-come, first-served basis.  The parking rate for the Community Open House on January 16 will be $7 per vehicle. 


Admission to the concert is free, but tickets are required.  Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at 9:00 a.m., through the Severance Hall Ticket Office in person, by phone at 216-231-1111 or 800-686-1141, or online at  Due to the high demand, tickets to this concert go quickly.  Typically, all tickets for this concert are distributed by noon on the day they are made available to the public.  There is a limit of 4 tickets per household.


In January, The Cleveland Orchestra will participate in the National Food Drive “Orchestras Feeding America.”  Since “Orchestras Feeding America” began in 2007, over 250 orchestras across the country have collected more than 475,000 pounds of food.  The food drive will run from January 4-18.  Patrons are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to Severance Hall to concerts on January 5, 6, 7, 12, 14, and 15, as well as the free MLK Open House on Monday, January 16.  The recipient of the food drive this year is the Inner City Baptist Church Food Center, which is part of the Hunger Network of Cleveland.  The center acts as an “emergency” food pantry serving the Hough neighborhood, site of The Cleveland Orchestra’s “At Home” Neighborhood Residency in 2016.  This is the ninth year that The Cleveland Orchestra has participated in the National Food Drive “Orchestras Feeding America.”  For more information about the League of American Orchestras’ Feeding America Food Drive, please visit

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Severance Hall, Cleveland, OH

Saturday, January 16, 2016, at 7:00 p.m.
The Cleveland Orchestra
Thomas Wilkins, conductor
Thomas Mesa, cello
Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Chorus
William Henry Caldwell, director

TRADITIONAL - The Star-Spangled Banner
JOHN ROSAMOND JOHNSON - Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing
PETER BOYER - Silver Fanfare
CHARLES FLOYD - The Lord’s Prayer
ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK - Allegro moderato from Cello Concerto
     featuring THOMAS MESA, cello
DUKE ELLINGTON - “King of the Magi” from Three Black Kings
TRAD. (arr. Moses Hogan) - The Battle of Jericho
TRAD. (arr. Roland Carter) - You Must Have That True Religion
MORTON GOULD - “Jubilee” from Spirituals
KURT CARR  (arr. Charles Floyd) - For Every Mountain
TRAD. (arr. Uzee Brown Jr.) - We Shall Overcome



Monday, January 15, 2017 from 12 noon to 5:00 p.m.
Severance Hall, Cleveland, OH

12:15 p.m.  
Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus
      Ann Usher, director
      Suzanne Walters, assistant director

12:55 p.m.
Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus
      Lisa Wong, director
Daniel Singer, assistant director

1:30 p.m.  El Sistema@Rainey

2:15 p.m.  Cleveland Inner City Ballet

3:00 p.m.  Councilman Conwell & The Footprints (Motown Jazz/Blues)

4:15 p.m.  Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra
      Brett Mitchell, conductor
James Hettinga, cello

All performances take place in the Concert Hall. 

Ongoing family-friendly activities include:  the “I Have a Dream” Wall and the Cuyahoga County Public Library Martin Luther King Jr. Book Display in the Smith Lobby.  Terry Macklin Sounds of Entertainment DJ and Line Dancing takes place in the Bogomolny-Kozerefski Grand Foyer between performances.  

The concert Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert is presented by the The Cleveland Orchestra in collaboration with the City of Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

Sponsored by KeyBank, a Cleveland Orchestra Partner in Excellence

The Cleveland Orchestra is grateful for ongoing annual support from the State of Ohio and Ohio Arts Council, and to the residents of Cuyahoga County for annual support through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.