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USM Ambassador Series Presents “Lift Every Voice”

Mon, 02/05/2024 - 08:36am | By: Jay Dean

Life Every Voice

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Ambassador Series will present the Opera Mississippi production of “Lift Every Voice,” featuring vocalist John Christopher Adams and pianist Tyler Kemp, on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 12:15 p.m. in the Fleming Education Center Auditorium, USM Gulf Park campus in Long Beach. The concert is free and open to the public.

The program includes “Soon I Will be Done,” “Ain’t-A-Dat Good News,” “Hush! Somebody’s Callin’ My Name,” “I’m a Soldier,” “Amazing Grace,” “A Change Gon’ Come,” “We Shall Overcome,” and many other soulful spirituals and Civil Rights-era songs. 

Songs of tragedy and triumph have long been the soundtrack of the Black experience in America, and history has shown that music is the best way to reach everyone within that culture. From slavery to Civil Rights and beyond, music has the ability to unite and encourage, pass along messages, spread words of hope, and harness the power and resilience of the human spirit. “Lift Every Voice” is a celebration of the heartache and hope of the Civil Rights Movement. 

Operatic tenor Adams has delved into his own family’s history and connections to Civil Rights activism in preparation for this important performance. He has performed on stages around the world including Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, and Seattle.

A native of Fannin, Mississippi, Adams studied theatre and music with the late Mrs. Karen Streit and Ms. Helen G. Morgan. He holds degrees in vocal performance and opera from Mississippi College and the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music.

“Singing the songs of Civil Rights is probably one of the greatest ways I could pay respect to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and the causes he championed,” noted Adams.

Learn more about the Ambassador Series.