Rock Hall of­fers 17th MLK Day cel­e­bra­tion

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Spotlight - By John Benson en­ter­tain­ment@news-her­ald.com

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame con­tin­ues to cel­e­brate Martin Luther King Jr’s dream with its 17th an­nual free event at the down­town Cleve­land venue.

“Mu­sic was an in­te­gral part in the Civil Rights Move­ment and still is such an im­por­tant plat­form for so many artists to have a voice, share a voice,” Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Vis­i­tor En­gage­ment Di­rec­tor John Goehrke said.

“Mu­si­cians of­ten stood right along­side Dr. King dur­ing many of his ap­pear­ances in the name of racial jus­tice. From the Free­dom Singers to in­ductees like Ma­halia Jack­son and Bob Dy­lan, Sam Cooke, Joan Baez, mu­si­cians played a role in ad­vo­cat­ing for so­cial change.”

The fo­cal points to this year’s MLK Day af­fair are two fam­ily-friendly ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams tak­ing place in the Foster Theater. The first is “Cleve­land Is the City,” which ex­plores the his­tory of soul and rhythm & blues mu­sic in Cleve­land. Artists high­lighted in­clude Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, The O‘Jays, Tracy Chap­man and Kid Cudi.

The next pro­gram is “Rock ’n’ Roll and the Civil Rights Move­ment.” Par­tic­i­pants will learn how a range of artists, from Jack­son and Cooke to Berry Gordy at Mo­town and rock ’n’ roll pi­o­neer Fats Domino, cre­ated pop­u­lar mu­sic that em­pow­ered blacks in Amer­i­can so­ci­ety.

Goehrke said the Rock Hall’s MLK Day ex­pe­ri­ence be­gins out­side the iconic build­ing.

“As you’re walk­ing up, you’ll be hear­ing a spe­cially cu­rated Civil Rights Move­ment playlist,” Goehrke said. “Fans that fol­low us on Spo­tify can take that playlist home with them.”

Ap­pear­ing all day at the MLK Day af­fair will be Z107.9 on-air mixer DJ Guests en­joy a past visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Mu­seum on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when the at­trac­tion of­fers free ad­mis­sion and spe­cial ac­tiv­i­ties, as it is do­ing Jan. 15 in honor of the day.

“Mu­si­cians of­ten stood right along­side Dr. King dur­ing many of his ap­pear­ances in the name of racial jus­tice. From the Free­dom Singers to in­ductees like Ma­halia Jack­son and Bob Dy­lan, Sam Cooke, Joan Baez, mu­si­cians played a role in ad­vo­cat­ing for so­cial change.” — Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Vis­i­tor En­gage­ment Di­rec­tor John Goehrke

Ryan Wolf, who is also the of­fi­cial DJ of the Cleve­land Browns. There will also be per­for­mances by The Dis­tin­guished Gen­tle­men of Spo­ken Word, a group of African-Amer­i­can males ages 8 to 18 who study the art of per­for­mance po­etry, as well as Cleve­land Metropoli­tan School District Dig­i­tal Arts High School Step­pers.

Non­profit Tam Tam Magic will also be present pro­mot­ing health and well­ness through the use of in­no­va­tive cul­tural arts and ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams.

Per­haps the most un­usual as­pect to this year’s guests in­volves a spe­cial per­for­mance by cast mem­bers of Cleve­land Play House’s “Marie and Rosetta.” Miche Braden (Sis­ter Rosetta) and Chaz Hodges (Marie Knight) will sing songs by “The God­mother of Rock ’n’ Roll” and 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Early In­flu­ence In­ductee Sis­ter Rosetta Tharpe.

What makes the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence even more poignant is “Marie and Rosetta” de­tails the strug­gles of the black singer in the heav­ily racist South and equally sex­ist mu­sic in­dus­try.

“We were go­ing to do this any­way, but cer­tainly when we found out Sis­ter Rosetta Tharpe was get­ting in­ducted, it really felt like, ‘Wow, the tim­ing was per­fect,’” Goehrke said.

When ex­am­in­ing the Rock Hall’s Martin Luther King Day cel­e­bra­tion, the only thing miss­ing is per­haps a high-pro­file name at­tached to the pro­gram. Goehrke said early on the an­nual event did boast na­tional artists, but the Rock Hall folks quickly learned the at­ten­tion dis­tracted vis­i­tors.

“We no­ticed peo­ple would come in and ba­si­cally wait all day by the stage for the head­liner,” Goehrke said. “The feed­back we re­ceived was no­body got to ex­pe­ri­ence the mu­seum or ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams. Our at­ten­dance has gone up since we fo­cused more on lo­cal tal­ent and ac­tiv­i­ties in all of the dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the build­ing.

“For many folks who come to MLK Day, it might be their first visit ever or in a long time, so this is a chance for them to see the en­tirety of our mu­seum, which has changed so much in the last two years with new ex­hibits and new ex­pe­ri­ences. To really high­light all of that, in ad­di­tion to all of the spe­cial pro­gram­ming, is a real treat.”

JANET MACOSKA — ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.