Philadelphia Orchestra performs annual tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. at MLK High

Hundreds of people filled the Martin Luther King High School auditorium on Monday evening to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.  Hosted by CIGNA, the Philadelphia Orchestra and State Representative Dwight Evans, this is the seventh year that the concert has been held at the school.

The night kicked off with the Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance of the National Anthem. 

Allison Vulgamore, the President of the Philadelphia Orchestra spoke first by stating, “Our annual tribute to the legacy of Dr. King and his inspiring vision gives us an opportunity to pause in our busy lives and reflect on the possibility of a society free of prejudice and racial division.”

Following Vulgamore was State Representative Dwight Evans who stated, “This event is a great way for young people to be involved in their community. We did several community service events today I am so happy to see so many people doing service,”

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The Orchestra played on as the crowd seemed to relax and enjoy the music.

In attendance was Mayor Michael Nutter who shared a few words about the Martin Luther King day of service in Philadelphia.

“Philly has the highest participation of service on MLK day in the entire country,” he boasted.  

Mayor Nutter also highlighted the recent acts of violence the city has seen in the past two weeks, noting that “if there is ever a day that there is no violence, please let it be today.”

During the concert, there was a segment that highlighted Dr. King’s life until his assassination.

Charlotte Blake Alston, who is a nationally recognized storyteller and singer, reenacted Dr. King’s life. After her performances, the audience gave her a standing ovation. 

The Philadelphia All City Choir was also on hand to perform several songs.

Later in the show there were students from the Philadelphia School District who were being honored for their achievements as they related to Dr. King’s vision.

Acting superintendent Dr. Leroy Nunnery was also in attendance to show his support.

Although this is the seventh year the event has been held at Martin Luther King High School, the concert has taken place in Philadelphia for more than 20 years with CIGNA’s support.

“We have been doing this concert before this day was known as a national holiday,” Chief Information Officer Maggie FitzPatrick said. 

“We are excited to join you in celebrating the life of Dr. King and reaffirming our shared commitment to making our world a better, healthier place,” she added. 

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