Performing artist Whit Whitaker will be featured during the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration on Sunday, January 20, 2:00 p.m., at First Baptist Church, Somerset. The church is located at 128 North Main Street, Somerset, and the celebration will be held in the fbc2 sanctuary.
Whitaker will be performing "A Dream Deferred: Celebrating the Life of a Martyr." The performance is a remembrance and celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Though Dr. King has long been taken from us, his words, actions, and promising vision should continue to live on within each one of us, and it is my hope that this musical narrative will help to remind us all of the progress that we have made and the work that still needs to continue on if we are ever to be truly free from the bonds of racism, prejudice and discrimination," said Whitaker.
Whitaker is a native of Detroit, MI who now resides in Lexington. Whitaker, a tenor, earned his music degree from the University of Kentucky, where he studied voice under acclaimed voice Professor Dr. Everett McCorvey, Director of Opera Studies and founder of the internationally known American Spiritual Ensemble, and vocal coach Professor Cliff Jackson, noted accompanist for opera soprano Kathleen Battle. He studied with composer and conductor, Charles Lloyd, Jr., who is at present, Director of Voice and Choral Studies at Southern University at Baton Rouge, while attending Kentucky State University.
A violinist at age 8, Mr. Whitaker began singing at age 15 and has performed throughout Europe and the United States as a soloist and as a member of several choral ensembles, including the American Spiritual Ensemble. He has also played regional and local stages garnering such roles as Sportin' Life (Porgy & Bess), The King (The King and I), Miguel de Cervantes/Don Quixote (Don Quixote), Fred Graham/Pertruchio (Kiss Me Kate), Judas (Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell), Cast Performer and Choreographer (Ain't Misbehavin '), Tom Robinson (To Kill a Mockingbird), George Murchison (A Raisin in the Sun), Bardolfo (Falstaff), Prince of Morocco (The Merchant of Venice), and Betto (Gianni Schicchi). Mr. Whitaker tours regularly with the American Spiritual Ensemble and performs with the Lexington Singers & the Lexington Bach Choir, while making frequent guest appearances as a contract church soloist and as a concert soloist with his musical partner and good friend Diana Hallman, who will accompany Whitaker at the performance on January 20. Hallman is a pianist and musicologist, as well as a professor in the School of Music at the University of Kentucky.
In addition to the performance by Whitaker, the MLK Unity Choir will also perform. Anyone interested in joining the choir may do so. Rehearsals take place at First Baptist Church, Somerset, on January 15 and 17 at 6 p.m. in the sanctuary. For more information, contact Marvin Reynolds, choir director, at (606) 679-5245.
The MLK Jr. Community Celebration is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend. The event is sponsored by Somerset Community College.