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University of Minnesota to hold annual MLK musical tribute Sunday

The 32nd annual tribute features music by Oleta Adams, Walker West Music Academys Jazz Ensemble and Ahmad Lewis.

The University of Minnesota will hold its 32nd annual tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Ted Mann Concert Hall on the University’s West Bank campus.

MLK Day is celebrated on Jan. 21 this year.

The university says its annual MLK tribute was begun by Reginald Buckner, School of Music professor, and at the time was the only tribute of its kind in the state. Buckner died in 1989, but the tribute continues.

The celebration is now put on by the University’s Office for Equity and Diversity and the School of Music.

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Here are the University’s profiles of those performing this year:

  • Oleta Adams, whose 1990 debut album, Circle of One, went platinum, and over the years she has toured with Tears for Fears, Phil Collins, Michael Bolton and Luther Vandross. Her music draws deeply from her roots in gospel, while crossing effortlessly into the realms of soul, R&B, urban, and popular music. Shes received four Grammy nominations and sold more than 2.5 million records.
  • Ahmad Lewis, a U of M alumnus and St. Paul native who has competed in many spoken word competitions and is a former member of the Vibin Collective, a group of artists that performed social, political, and culturally conscious spoken word pieces at local venues. He holds Bachelor of Science degrees in both accounting and applied economics and is currently working for the City of Bloomingtons Finance Department.
  • The Walker West Music Academy Jazz Ensemble Program, which provides students with the opportunity to develop their artistic skills through engaging with their peers in a collaborative, performance based ensemble program. This ensemble program creates an environment where jazz instruction and performance are explored in traditional and modern contexts, maintaining improvisation as its foundational focus, recognizing it as not only a creative means of affirmation and celebration of the identity of the individual but also as a communicative tool to be utilized out of necessity in an increasingly complex and diverse world.