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A Musical Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)
January 9, 2024
A Musical Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

Presented by the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King CommunityFoundation and Noontime Concerts

The NorcalMLK Foundation is proud to announce an inspiring partnership with Noontime Concerts, aligning our shared values of social justice and the transformative power of the arts.

The concerts will launch the MLK Celebration Week, with a compelling concert curated by Dr. Carl Blake and dedicated to honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Famed pianist Dr. Carl Blake will also be the program director.

This partnership combines the NorcalMLK Foundation’s mission of advancing civil and human rights with Noontime Concerts’ commitment to making high-quality classical music accessible to all. Through these concerts, we will harness the emotive and unifying strength of classical music to echo Dr. King’s vision of a more just and equitable world.

The series will feature performances by accomplished classical musicians who will use their artistry to evoke themes of peace, unity, and the ongoing pursuit of social progress. These midday concerts will be easily accessible to the public, echoing Dr. King’s message of inclusivity.

Featuring: Carl Blake, Piano; Hope Briggs, Soprano; Amy Brodo, Cello; Daniel Glover, Piano; Edward Graves, Tenor; Bradley Kynard, Baritone; William Underwood III, Flute


INTRODUCTORY REMARKS        Ms. Robin Wirthin/Dr. Aaron Grizzell

Gabriel Fauré: Elegy (Cello and Piano)

H. Leslie Adams:  Prayer (Tenor and Piano)

Garrett-Martin-Nicholson: I Believe This Belongs to You (Baritone and Piano)

Undine Smith Moore: Before I’d Be a Slave (Piano)

Roland M. Carter: Oh Freedom

Blind Tom Wiggins: Rêve Charmant: Nocturne (Piano)

Bruce Trinkley (arr.): Spirituals for Cello and Piano

Ride On, King Jesus

Wade in the Water

Jacqueline B. Hairston: I Don’t Feel No-Ways Tired (Soprano and Piano)      

Mary Watkins: God Is All There Is (Baritone and Piano)

Shawn E. Okpebholo: My Country (Soprano and Baritone)             

CLOSING REMARKS                                                    Dr. Aaron Grizzell

William Grant Still: Summerland (Flute and Piano)

CARL BLAKE (piano) holds three degrees in piano performance: Bachelor of Music (magna cum laude) from Boston University, Master of Arts from San Jose State University, and Doctor of Musical Arts from Cornell University. Dr. Blake has performed three times in Weill Recital Hall (formerly, Carnegie Recital Hall) and has toured in Russia, France, England, Central and South America, and the Caribbean Islands as Artistic Ambassador with cellist Kim Cook (Distinguished Professor of Music at The Pennsylvania State University) for the United States Department of State.  Currently, he serves as Director of Music of The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco and teaches piano in his private studio in Oakland.  Mr. Blake is a member of the Board of Directors of Noontime Concerts San Francisco.

HOPE BRIGGS (soprano) sang Micaela in Carmen most recently with Festival Opera as well as Ava in Gareth William’s Rocking Horse Winner and Odessa Clay in D.J. Sparr’s Approaching Ali with Opéra Louisiane. She also portrayed Lucinda in Opera San José’s workshop of Jake Heggie’s newest opera, Intelligence, and repeated this role in Houston Grand Opera’s workshop under Patrick Summers, the Duchess of Parma in Doktor Faust with San Francisco Opera and Stuttgart Opera, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Frankfurt Opera, the title role in Aida with Nevada Opera, Sacramento Opera and Cedar Rapids Opera and Leonora in Il Trovatore with El Paso Opera, Opera Roanoke and Festival Opera of Walnut Creek as well as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera with Festival Opera. She is a Metropolitan Opera National Finalist and a Marian Anderson Scholar.

AMY BRODO (cello) performed for many years in Italy, Israel, and England before moving to San Francisco, with positions including assistant principal cellist of the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Italy, and cellist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In California, Ms. Brodo has performed with period instrument groups that include Lux Musica, Sex Chordae Consort of Viols, Magnificat Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, El Mundo, Musica Angelica, Archetti, and Albany Consort. She has played on over twenty commercially produced recordings. Amy plays principal cello with the Livermore Opera Company and gives several recitals and chamber music concerts annually.  She is a founding member of the piano quartet with voice: Persephone Chamber Ensemble.

DANIEL GLOVER (piano) has performed throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. Mr. Glover trained with Eugene List, Abbey Simon, Jerome Lowenthal, Nancy Bachus, and Thomas LaRatta. He holds a master’s degree from Juilliard School of Music, where he was a scholarship student. He has served on the faculties of New York University, the University of the Virgin Islands, the University of San Francisco, and Notre Dame de Namur University. Dan served as concert accompanist for seven years for the Boys’ Choir of Harlem which included a performance for Coretta Scott King.

EDWARD GRAVES (tenor) is a recent graduate of the Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera. Recent Bay Area performances include a workshop of Jake Heggie’s Intelligence with the Houston Grand Opera, the National Anthem at the Chase Center, Rodolfo in Bohème Out of the Box, and Amadou in Omar at the San Francisco Opera. Elsewhere, Edward recently made his Spoleto Festival USA debut as Anatol in Vanessa. Upcoming performances include company and role debuts at the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto at Opera San Jose and Alfredo in La Traviata at Opera Tampa.

BRADLEY KYNARD (baritone) appeared in two operatic premieres this season: The Emissary composed by Oh/Rourke and Prospero’s Island by Shearer/Stevens. He also sang the role of Zebul in Jeptha by Handel, the bass soloist in Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet (BWV 212) by J.S. Bach, and filmed the cinematic version of the new opera A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil by Wold.  Past performances include Sophia’s Forest by Beecher/Moscovitch and Harriet’s Spirit by Shelby/Olvera with Opera Parallèle, Hiob by Mendelssohn, Ballad of the Brown King by Bonds with Ukiah Symphony Orchestra and the role of Dagoo in Moby Dick by Heggie/Scheer with San Francisco Opera. He performed baritone solos in Carmina Burana by Orff with the Golden Gate Symphony and sang the role of Brooke (Little Women) by Adamo with Island City Opera.

WILLIAM UNDERWOOD  III (flute) holds a Bachelor of Science in Music degree from Florida A&M University and a Master of Music in Flute Performance from Wayne State University.  Mr. Underwood has toured Japan extensively with Kyodo Tokyo Inc. and regularly works as a solo, collaborative, and recording flutist. William is a recent transplant to the Bay Area from Detroit.  Currently, he is the executive manager of Flute World in the North Beach district of San Francisco.