Original Choral Work Selected to Celebrate Dr. King at
the Nation’s Oldest Baptist Church
“Let Justice Roll!” Will Be Performed by Combined Choirs, Guest Artists and RI Leaders
Musicians from The First Baptist Church in America in Providence’s downtown are joining forces with East Providence’s Newman Congregational Church UCC and Stages of Freedom – the non-profit organization that generates funding to increase swimming proficiency in the Rhode Island African American community – to produce an afternoon of original choral music designed to lift up the leadership and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This dramatic concert begins with Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and ends with a dramatic choral cantata with narration entitled “Let Justice Roll!” – an original work written by Julliard graduate and lecturer at Yale Institute of Sacred Music, Mark Miller. The concert will take place at 3pm on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at The First Baptist Church in America, 75 North Main Street, Providence. Admission is free.
The cantata captures the Letter’s vision and power, bringing alive its themes through a tapestry of guest artists with solo performances that include RI sacred jazz pianist Claudius Cooper, New York City baritone Frank Mathis, and Newman Congregational’s own Becky Bass, soprano. Additionally, Providence leadership and diversity strategist Lawrence E. Wilson, narrator for this event, will conduct the chorus in its performance of two of his own works.
Choral Directors Stephen Martorella and Geoffrey Green issued a joint statement regarding their selection of “Let Justice Roll!” as the centerpiece of this sacred concert. “The cantata is the ultimate representation of Mark Miller’s hunger – like Dr. King’s – to break down the dividing walls of hostility and fear. Miller believes passionately that music can change the world and, in the words of public scholar and author Cornell West, ‘Justice is what love looks like in public.’ It inspires and empowers people to create and sustain God’s Beloved Community.”