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Middlebury College to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday evening

MIDDLEBURY — This Martin Luther King Day, over 100 Middlebury College students will raise their voices in tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in “MLK Oratorio: A Celebration in Song, Speech, and Dance.” The program will be held at Mead Memorial Chapel on Monday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. It is free and open to college and community members alike.
Singers from four popular a cappella groups — the Bobolinks, Mamajamas, Mountain Ayres, and the Paradiddles — will join speakers from the college Oratory Society to fill the chapel with King’s words, and with songs that inspired, and were inspired by, his work. They will be performing in collaboration with dancers from “Move2Change,” a Winter Term course devoted to social activism and performance, taught by the artistic director of Big Ape dance company, Tiffany Rhynard.
Not all speeches will be the words of Dr. King. One ensemble piece, “King in Dialogue,” will juxtapose his words with those of the luminaries who influenced him before the civil rights movement, and others who opposed him during it. Another piece, “JusTalks Speaks,” will feature the voices of students who responded anonymously to a more localized question about social justice: “What does a better Middlebury look like to you?”
This year’s program is directed by professor and playwright Dana Yeaton, with musical direction by music professor Larry Hamberlin. Their goals include making “MLK Oratorio” the passing of a torch — from the event’s founder and spiritual leader, Twilight Scholar François Clemmons — to the students and community for which it was conceived. Former members of Clemmons’ MLK Spiritual Choir will join college singers for this year’s event.
Mead Chapel is located at 75 Hepburn Road on the campus of Middlebury College. Free parking is available on Route 125/College Street, and on Old Chapel Road. Some handicap-accessible parking will be available on Hillcrest Road adjacent to the chapel. For more information, call (802) 443-3168 or go to www.middlebury.edu/arts.

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