Huntsville, Ala. ---- Renowned conductor and composer Henry Panion, an Alabama A&M University alumnus, will conduct a symphony in a 90th birthday tribute to Rev. Joseph Lowery, civil rights icon, Huntsvillian and fellow Normalite.
Dr. Panion will conduct the Atlanta Symphony in a performance of “Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery: His Words – Our Gift, A Musical Experience” Sunday,
October 9, at Atlanta Symphony Hall at 6 p.m. Hosted by CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, the event is slated to feature stellar appearances by Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Holiday, Peabo Bryson, Lady Tramaine Hawkins, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Cicely Tyson, the Morehouse and Spelman College Glee Clubs, and many others.
Dr. Alease S. Sims, the AAMU alumna and a lead plaintiff in the long-running Knight-Sims higher education desegregation lawsuit, recalls how Rev. Lowery helped with the fundraising for the plaintiffs in spite of threats to dissuade his appearance at an event at Birmingham’s Sixth Avenue Baptist Church.
“The thought of cancelling the program rested heavily on my heart and mind,” says Sims. “... the idea of harm coming to innocent people attending a rally in support of Alabama's black colleges was a bit much.” Nevertheless, the rally was a success, notes Dr. Sims.
A producer, composer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, and educator, Panion possesses a wealth of experiences which span the musical spectrum, from Gospel to Classical, Pop to Rock, Hip-Hop to Be-Bop, and “everything in between.” He has worked with such musical greats as Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Ellis Marsalis, Jonathan Butler, Juanita Bynum, American Idol winners Carrie Underwood and Ruben Studdard; Hip-Hop artist Coolio; and more than 50 different symphony orchestras around the world.
For ticket and other information, contact (404) 524-8406.
by Jerome Saintjones