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January 31, 2013

UAB presents Blind Boys of Alabama, ASO, conducted by Henry Panion

BIRMINGHAM — The Blind Boys of Alabama will perform with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra (ASO) and conductor Henry Panion III, Ph.D., in a special concert to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the seminal events of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement.

The event is presented by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Music in conjunction with the biennial conference in Birmingham of the National Association for the Study and Performance of African-American Music. The performance will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 16, 2013, in the Jemison Concert Hall of UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Tickets are $55, $35 and $22 and will go on sale Friday, Feb. 1. Call 205-975-2787. Visit the UAB Department of Music online at www.uab.edu/music.

This special concert will serve as a fundraiser for the UAB Stevie Wonder Music Technology Scholarship Endowment Fund. Panion has served as conductor and arranger for Wonder for 20 years, and the endowment fund was established with a Stevie Wonder benefit concert in 1996 for UAB students majoring in music technology.

The Blind Boys of Alabama formed at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939. The group toiled for 40 years almost exclusively on the black gospel circuit; playing in churches, auditoriums and stadiums across the country. The group performed for Martin Luther King Jr. at civil rights benefit events. Now the group is recognized worldwide as living legends of gospel music.

The Blind Boys of Alabama were recognized with National Endowment for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Awards, inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, honored with five Grammy Awards and have performed for two U.S. presidents in the White House. They have influenced generations of musicians and have performed with artists as diverse as Bonnie Raitt, Randy Travis, k.d. lang, Lou Reed, Ben Harper, Tom Petty, Peter Gabriel and Prince. On their latest recording, 2011’s “Take the High Road,” they joined with some of Nashville’s best country singers, including Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, the Oak Ridge Boys, Hank Williams Jr., Lee Ann Womack and rising star Jamey Johnson.

This concert is one of many events in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences’ Civil Rights Commemorative series, as well as part of the UAB and City of Birmingham partnership, 50 Years Forward; the ongoing 50th anniversary commemoration of the seminal events of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Learn more about 50 Years Forward at www.uab.edu/50yearsforward. For a complete listing of UAB College of Arts and Sciences commemorative events, visit www.uab.edu/civilrights.

 

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