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AETN to air El Dorado concert honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted 16 Mar 2009

El Dorados 12th annual community concert honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will air on the Arkansas Educational Television Network Sunday, March 22, at 2 p.m.

An impressive combination of gospel, classical and spoken word, the program highlights the life and spirit of King, as well as the rich artistic variety of Arkansas.

Taped Jan. 12 at the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium, the concert showcases the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kermit Poling. U.S. Sen. David Pryor also contributes to the collection of music and message with his reading of Aaron Coplands "A Lincoln Portrait."

Featured in the concert is El Dorado native Cynthia Scott, an acclaimed jazz artist based in New York. She began singing in her fathers church at age four and went on to earn her bachelors and masters degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. She toured for two years with Ray Charles, and was nominated for a Grammy in 2002.

Scott has performed with Lionel Hampton, Cab Calloway, Joe Williams, Oscar Peterson, the Count Basie Orchestra, Lou Donaldson, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Connick, Jr. For 10 years, she sang with a big band at New Yorks prestigious Supper Club, and she has performed throughout Europe, Asia, South America, and Canada. She received a 2002 Grammy Award nomination and was a finalist in the 1998 International Thelonius Monk Jazz Vocal Competition.

The South Arkansas Symphony is accompanied by the combined voices of the El Dorado Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America and Community Concert Choirs directed by Greg Tucker, Dessie Ford, Alma McHenry and Sharon Modica.

The vocal styling of these groups combined with the musical expertise of Poling and the orchestra provides a powerful backdrop for featured soloist Na Keysha Brown and Scott.

Because King himself was a powerful orator, no tribute to him would be complete without a reading of his 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech. Kate Johnson, a sixth-grader from Washington Middle School, offers a moving rendition of those famous words.

For 12 years, the El Dorado Community Concert has honored King, and this years powerful blend of some of Arkansas most talented artists provides a noteworthy celebration of the man and his spirit.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (www.aetn.org) provides lifelong learning opportunities, improves and enhances Arkansans lives and celebrates the unique culture of Arkansas through its programming and services. AETNs digital and analog transmitters and numerous cable system connections give it statewide reach.