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20th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Choral Celebration “God’s Trombones”, January 18, 2020, By Dr. Francesca Armmer

MARK YOUR CALENDARS for a tremendous opportunity to experience the landmark dramatic presentation of “God’s Trombones”, poems by James Weldon Johnson based upon American Negro Folk Sermons. The music by Roy Ringwald is based upon the American Negro Spiritual.

On Saturday, January 18, 2020, at 7:30 pm, at the Illinois Central College Performing Arts Center, the Heritage Ensemble will take you on a unique musical journey. As the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. recognition is celebrated, the Heritage Ensemble will guide you on a “never before” journey through the internationally acclaimed music, “God’s Trombones.” The uniqueness of this celebration will be the journey through the powerful music and unforgettable poetry that has been blended in a manner that is heartfelt and timeless; heartfelt in the expressions of hope and timeless in the challenges of both 1927 and 2020!

This Concert will also feature the Youth Heritage Ensemble. Their presentations will provide an exuberance to our community that you will certainly enjoy.

As we commemorate the life and sacrifices of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, as well as the sacrifices of our local, regional, and national friends, family members, and noteworthy individuals who committed their lives to “civil rights”, let us REMEMBER THE STRUGGLE and CELEBRATE THE HOPE! Let us offer words of GRATITUDE for the wisdom of our past and present leaders who address the challenges that continue to exist in 2020!

Are you ready to celebrate? Let us see you on Saturday, January 18, 2020. Bring your friends and family to the Concert!

The Heritage Ensemble began as a vision from the founder and artistic director, Mrs. Sharon Samuels Reed. Together a core group of performers were called upon to be the pivotal community in the Opera Illinois production of Porgy and Bess. In preparation for this production, the group performed A Concert of Spirituals. This marked the beginning of a choral ensemble that has taken the Peoria Metro community, the State of Illinois, and our United States on musical journeys that have been described as “edutainment,” a rich blend of education and entertainment. Thus, every year the Heritage Ensemble presents two signature concerts, the Martin Luther King Jr., Concert in January and the Juneteenth concert in June.

Mission Statement: The Heritage Ensemble exists to celebrate the culture and history of African Americans through music. People of all cultures will be exposed to the diversity, beauty, richness, and complexity of musical literature born out of the African American Experience. Whether it is through our singing or the message in our music, the Heritage Ensemble strives to tear down walls and build bridges between all people. This diverse literature—spirituals, ragtime, jazz, gospel, work songs, hollers will be presented in a professional manner for the education and enjoyment of its members as well as for the entertainment and cultural enrichment of the community.

In staying ever true to the mission of the Heritage Ensemble, The Youth Heritage Ensemble was founded. The Youth Heritage Ensemble was established for young people in grades 7-12 to strengthen and nurture the youth of our community. In addition to performing a diverse set of musical selections, these young members have an opportunity to cultivate leadership, citizenship, and professional skills that will serve them well in their future careers. The legacy of the Heritage Ensemble is mirrored in the Youth Heritage Ensemble, blending the wisdom of experience with the excitement of youth! It is our joy to revitalize the Youth Heritage Ensemble. There is a necessity embedded in the times in which we live for parents, friends, and loved ones to encourage and support our Youth Heritage Ensemble.

We encourage you, your family, and your friends to spend Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 7:30pm at the Performing Arts Center of Illinois Central College on a journey with the Heritage Ensemble. Together we shall experience the premier performance of “God’s Trombones”, remember with love our struggles, and celebrate with an undying commitment, our hope that ALL ARE CREATED EQUAL.

Tickets may be obtained from any Heritage Ensemble member or at the ICC Performing Arts Center. Prices are $15 Adults, $12 Seniors, and $8 Students. A shuttle will be available; through reservations made by calling 309-550-4242.