THE LEGACY OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. REMEMBERED
On Sunday during its annual tribute, The Choral Arts Society of Washington will present Sherrilyn Ifill with its Humanitarian Award.
by Patrick D. McCoy
(FILE PHOTO: The 2019 Choral Arts MLK Tribute)
Marking its 32nd year of its presentation, the annual choral tribute to Civil Rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr.remains a hallmark of The Choral Arts Society of Washington, founded by the late Norman Scribner. In partnership with Washington Performing Arts, the celebration features performances by Choral Arts, Washington Performing Arts’ Men, Women and Children of the Gospel with the compliment of guest musicians. Sharing the stage with Choral Arts artistic director Scott Tucker will be conductors Michelle Fowlin, Theodore Thorpe, III and Stanley J. Thurston. The complete aggregation of voices promise to lift the songs of celebration by a compliment of nearly 300 voices.
In a recent turn of events, it is even more appropriate that this year’s Choral Arts 2020 Humanitarian Award recipient is Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. At the center of her own personal fight for Civil Rights, Ifill recently stood up against Amtrak after reporting that the conductor asked her to give up her seat, ironically during MLK Weekend. Since this incident occured, Amtrak has apologized to the Baltimore, while many liken the incident to a modern day Rosa Parks. This fervor and commitment to Civil Rights exemplified in her own experience has been a trademark of her sterling career over the years.
Ifill began her career as a Fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union, before joining the staff of the Legal Defense Fund an Assistant Counsel in 1988, where she litigated voting rights cases for five years. In 1993, Ifill left Legal Defense Fund to join the faculty at University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore. Over twenty years, she has taught civil procedure and constitutional law to thousands of law students, and pioneered a series of law clinics, including one of the earliest law clinics in the country focused on challenging legal barriers to the reentry of ex-offenders. A prolific scholar, she has published academic articles in leading law journals, and op-eds and commentaries in leading newspapers. Her book “On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century,” was highly acclaimed, and is credited with laying the foundation for contemporary conversations about lynching and reconciliation. A 10th anniversary edition of the book was recently released with a Foreword by Bryan Stevenson, the acclaimed lawyer and founder of the national lynching memorial in Montgomery, AL.
Established in 2004, previous recipients of the Choral Arts Humanitarian Award include:
Dr. Dorothy Height, John Lewis, Marian Wright Edelman, Harris Wofford, Julian Bond, John Doar, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Norman Scribner, Nelson Mandela (in absentia), Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell, Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian, Bryan Stevenson, Ruby Bridges, Lonnie G. Bunch, III., and the Rev. Dr. Elbert Ransom, Jr.
THE CHORAL ARTS SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON TO PRESENT 17TH ANNUAL HUMANITARIAN
AWARD TO SHERRILYN A. IFILL AT:
LIVING THE DREAM…SINGING THE DREAM THE 32nd ANNUAL CHORAL TRIBUTE TO MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., JANUARY 26, 2020
Sunday, January 26, 2020, 7:00 pm
Kennedy Center Concert Hall
2700 F St NW, Washington, DC 20566
TICKETS: Tickets start at $25 and are available through Washington Performing Arts (www.washingtonperformingarts.org or 202.785.9727), Choral Arts (www.choralarts.org or 202.244.3669) and through the Kennedy Center (www.kennedy-center.org or 202.467.4600).
A native of Petersburg, VA, Patrick holds a BM in Vocal Performance from Virginia State University and a MM in Church Music from Shenandoah Conservatory. Formerly the Performing Arts Columnist for Washington Life Magazine, he currently is a freelance writer, publishing articles for several noted publications, including The Washington Post, Early Music America Classical Music Voice North America, The Afro-American Newspaper, CBS Washington and Examiner.com. He is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America, National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., The American Choral Directors’ Association, a member of the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors and a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He serves as Organist/Choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Zion Parish in Beltsville, MD and serves on the music faculty of Virginia State University where he teaches applied voice, music appreciation and assist with the University Concert Choir. Visit http://www.patrickdmccoy.com