The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra announces concert honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 17, 2022

Music Director Stéphane Denève, IN UNISON Chorus Director Kevin McBeth, and St. Louis Symphony Chorus Director Amy Kaiser will lead the SLSO, resident choral ensembles, and students involved in SLSO youth programs in the free concert at Powell Hall, which will be broadcast live on St. Louis Public Radio

Concert will feature music of Valerie Coleman, Florence Price, and Rollo Dilworth, plus traditional hymns and anthems alongside St. Louis composer Adam Maness' Divides That Bind, commissioned by the SLSO for full orchestra and chorus in 2015

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(November 16, 2021, St. Louis, MO) – The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Stéphane Denève invite the St. Louis community to join the SLSO for a concert honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. on the federal holiday in 2022. The free one-hour concert, supported by Commerce Bank, will take place at Powell Hall on Monday, January 17, at 7:00pm and will be broadcast live on KWMU 90.7 St. Louis Public Radio.

The concert was programmed by Stéphane Denève with SLSO chorus directors Kevin McBeth and Amy Kaiser to celebrate the spirit of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and honor the legacy of Dr. King through music. Members of both the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and the IN UNISON Chorus will perform. The concert will feature "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by J. Rosamond Johnson, Umoja: Anthem of Unity by Valerie Coleman, "Justice" by Rollo Dilworth, and John Williams' "Dry Your Tears, Afrika" from Amistad. The concert will end with the final movement of Divides That Bind by St. Louis composer Adam Maness, written in 2014. The SLSO commissioned an arrangement of Divides That Bind for full orchestra and chorus, then performed the world premiere at its annual Lift Every Voice concert in 2015. Divides That Bind includes a narration of Dr. King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech as part of the work.

The concert also will feature musicians from the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and strings students from the SLSO's Peer to Peer program, a mentorship program that pairs young musicians of color from area schools with musicians from the Youth Orchestra and SLSO. The SLSO started the Peer to Peer program in 2015. Now in its seventh year, more than 35 local student musicians have participated in lessons, coaching, and mentorship through this program.

Marie-Hélène Bernard, President and CEO of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, said, "Our entire SLSO family is honored to join so many others in our community, across our nation, and around the world, who are committed to advancing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We are grateful to participate in the day of service by tapping into the power of music as a vehicle to build community. On behalf of the many musicians who comprise each of our resident ensembles, the young people who enrich our lives through their participation in SLSO youth programming, our staff, and our board, we invite all of you to join us—at Powell Hall or via the airwaves on KWMU—for this special concert commemorating one of the most important civil rights activists."

Free tickets for this concert are available now at or by calling the SLSO Box Office at 314-534-1700.

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is required for all audience members 12 and older at every Powell Hall event. All patrons are required to wear masks while inside Powell Hall. Visit for more information.

Calendar listing
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra invites the community to a free, ticketed concert at Powell Hall that honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on Monday, January 17, 2022, at Powell Hall. Music Director Stéphane Denève leads the orchestra and resident choruses in this celebratory event.

Monday, January 17, 2022, 7:00pm CST
Powell Hall, 718 N. Grand, St. Louis, MO 63103

Stéphane Denève, conductor
Kevin McBeth, conductor
Amy Kaiser, conductor
St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus
St. Louis Symphony Chorus

J. Rosamond JOHNSON (arr. Carter) "Lift Every Voice and Sing"
Valerie COLEMAN Umoja: Anthem of Unity
Rollo DILWORTH "Justice"
TRADITIONAL (arr. Hayes) "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me"
William STEFFE (arr. Wilhousky) "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
Florence PRICE (arr. Akiko Hosoi) Adoration
John WILLIAMS "Dry Your Tears, Afrika" from Amistad
Adam MANNESS Divides That Bind

This concert is supported by Commerce Bank. IN UNISON is supported by Bayer Fund.

Tune in to St. Louis Public Radio on Monday, January 17, at 7:00pm for a live broadcast of the performance. Listen on air (90.7 FM KWMU St. Louis, 88.5 KMST Rolla, or 90.3 WQUB Quincy) or online (, or ask your smart speaker to "play St. Louis Public Radio."

About the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Celebrated as a leading American orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the second-oldest orchestra in the country, marking its 142nd year with the 2021/2022 season and its third with Music Director Stéphane Denève. The SLSO maintains its commitment to artistic excellence, educational impact, and community collaborations, honoring its mission of enriching lives through the power of music.

The SLSO serves as a convener of individuals, creators, and ideas, and is committed to building community through compelling and inclusive musical experiences. As it continues its longstanding focus on equity, diversity, inclusion, and access, the SLSO embraces its strengths as a responsive, nimble organization, while investing in partnerships locally and elevating its presence globally. For more information, visit

About the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus
The St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus is an auditioned ensemble of 120+ volunteer singers that performs a variety of musical styles, with a focus on the interpretation, performance, and preservation of the music of African American and African cultures. Chorus members often come from IN UNISON Program partner churches. Many chorus members sing in other vocal ensembles or church choirs. All share a love of music and of singing.

Founded in 1994 by Dr. Robert Ray and supported annually by Bayer Fund, the IN UNISON Chorus performs each year with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at the SLSO's Gospel Christmas and Lift Every Voice: Celebration Black History Month concerts, as well as at the Chorus' free community concert and throughout the community. The Chorus has been led by Kevin McBeth since 2011.

About the St. Louis Symphony Chorus
Founded in the 1976/1977 season, the St. Louis Symphony Chorus is an auditioned choral ensemble composed primarily of volunteers from the St. Louis region. Chorus members come from all walks of life, uniting to create remarkable experiences. Appearing with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra several times each season, the Chorus performs repertoire from the entire choral-orchestral canon. Recognized for its artistic excellence, the Chorus has performed with the SLSO at Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim. The Chorus is directed by Amy Kaiser, who celebrates her 27th and final season leading the ensemble in the 2021/2022 season.

About the SLSO Peer to Peer Program
A part of the IN UNISON Academy, this unique mentoring program pairs musicians of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra with talented African-American music students from Gateway Music Outreach. SLSO musicians serve as guides for each student pair during regular meetings and coaching sessions with SLSO musicians throughout the school year. Student pairs attend SLSO concerts together and perform as part of the annual SLSO IN UNISON Chorus Community Concert. SLSO Peer to Peer connects entire families through the enjoyment of orchestral music and develops a culture of mentorship in our next generation of artists and audiences.

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