Dr. John Kirk, director of the UA Little Rock Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity, will serve as a guest narrator during the River City Men’s Chorus performances of“Imagine: Justice-Freedom-Peace” in April.
The performances, which are free and open to the public, will take place on Sunday, April 7, at 3 p.m., Monday, April 8, at 7 p.m., and Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church, 600 Pleasant Valley Drive in Little Rock.
The songs in the concert focus on the ideals of seeking justice, peace, and the fight for freedom. The concert includes Mark Hayes’ suite based on Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and “Glory” from the 2014 film “Selma.” The chorus will perform a setting of “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor,” the last stanza of Emma Lazarus’ sonnet “The New Colossus,” the lines inscribed on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
David Glaze, conductor and artistic director of the River City Men’s Chorus, asked Kirk to serve as a guest narrator after hearing the “Arkansas Moments” series, , a special feature on UA Little Rock Public Radio that explores the history of the Civil Rights movement in Arkansas.
“He thought that they would be the perfect accompaniment to the ‘Imagine: Justice-Freedom-Peace’ performances, which feature many songs inspired by the Civil Rights movement, and also includes a suite of songs based on Maya Angelou’s writings, the author and poet who spent some of her childhood in Arkansas,” Kirk said. “Drawing on my expertise in Arkansas and United States civil rights history, I agreed to put together a number of narrations that I could perform between the songs to tie the songs together and to provide historical context for them.”