King: A Reflection on the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a spoken word piece by playwright/librettist Sandra Seaton accompanied by spirituals performed a cappella by tenor George Shirley. King, a mixture of poetry and brief reflections, remembers Rev. King as an individual with human limitations who nevertheless answered the call to leadership. His life serves as a model for those, especially the young, who might feel that any imperfection disqualifies them from leadership. The work, divided into four sections, “Nobel-man,” “Chicago,” “Bottles and Rocks,” and "Memphis 1968,” takes us on the journey of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he struggled to bring civil rights to the United States.
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George Shirley (tenor) is in demand nationally and internationally as performer, teacher and lecturer. He has won international acclaim for his performances in the world's great opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera (New York), Royal Opera (Covent Garden, London), Deutsche Oper (Berlin), Téatro Colón (Buenos Aires), Netherlands Opera (Amsterdam), L'Opéra de Monte Carlo, New York City Opera, Scottish Opera (Glasgow), Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington Opera (Kennedy Center), Michigan Opera Theater, Glyndebourne Festival, and Santa Fe Opera.
Professor Shirley was the first African-American to be appointed to a high school teaching post in music in Detroit, the first African-American member of the United States Army Chorus in Washington, D.C., and the first African-American tenor and second African-American male to sing leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera, where he remained for eleven years.
Sandra Seaton is a playwright and librettist. She wrote the libretto for the song cycle From the Diary of Sally Hemings in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom. The song cycle, now available as a cd from White Pine Music, has been performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Her recent plays include The Will, a drama about a black Tennessee family during Reconstruction, Music History, which dramatizes the struggle for civil rights in the sixties, and A Chance Meeting, whose first production starred acclaimed Met tenor George Shirley.
With Special Guest performance by Rebecca Eaddy, 2011 National Association of Negro Musicians National Award Winner and University of Michigan graduate