Martin Luther King Jr. Concert

The Cleveland Orchestra has been bringing the community together for a concert at Severance Hall for 37 years to celebrate the life, leadership and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King (MLK), Jr. For the last fourteen years, the MLK Community Service Award has recognized extraordinary citizens in the community who are making a difference and positively impacting Cleveland with the spirit of Dr. King’s teachings.

This year’s celebration themed Stokes: Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future of Cleveland, recognized Carl and Louis Stokes as Cleveland’s pioneers. Carl Stokes served as the first African American elected to serve as mayor of a major United States city. Louis Stokes was the first African American congressman elected in the state of Ohio. Mayor Frank Jackson, along with Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Conwell, and Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Yvonne Conwell presented awards to the 2016 winners.

City, county, state, federal, and other elected officials including several of the award winners from the past fourteen years were among the thousands of attendees at this commemorative event. An evening of joyful and inspirational music was presented by the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Thomas Wilkins, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Chorus assembled and prepared by William Henry Caldwell performed its 37th annual concert in celebration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition, speakers at the concert's live radio broadcast on WCLV included Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish; Musical Arts Association President Dennis LaBarre; Pastor Sharon Hilton-McCladdie, Faith Temple Church of God; and Executive Vice President, KeyBank and Chair, KeyBank Foundation, Margot James Copland.

William C. Rieter