200 Alabama Bicentennial

Celebrating Alabama’s 200th birthday2017 2018 2019

The City of Birmingham will continue its three-year celebration of Alabama’s Bicentennial with a Martin Luther King Jr. tribute concert on Sunday, January 14, 2018. The concert will feature the Blind Boys of Alabama with Conductor Dr. Henry Panion, III & Orchestra, plus the combined choirs of Alabama A&M University, Alabama State University, Birmingham Southern College, Miles College, Talladega College, Tuskegee University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). The concert will take place at 5:00 PM in the Jemison Concert Hall of the Alys Stephens Center on the campus of UAB in Birmingham, AL.

Highlights of the concert will feature performances of the title song from the Blind Boys’ latest album, Almost Home and the recent Grammy-nominated song “Let My Mother Live” from that same recording, newly arranged by Dr. Panion for the Blind Boys, orchestra and choir. “With the City of Birmingham adopting the theme I’m Coming Home for its bicentennial campaign, and with the group’s leader and founding member Jimmy Carter being from Birmingham, we have to do this song,” said Dr. Panion. In the chorus, Jimmy sings, “I’ve come a long way from Alabama. I’ve been a long time gone. I’ve been up, down, the whole world ‘round. And I’m almost home.”

Birmingham’s primary focus during the three-year celebration is to highlight the positive achievements its citizens have made and their impact on the state of Alabama and the world. The city has designed a myriad of educational programs, community and statewide initiatives, and artistic presentations for its Bicentennial campaign. U.S. Representative Terri Sewell of the 7th District of Alabama recently had a resolution in honor of Birmingham’s musical giants, including the Blind Boys of Alabama, read from the floor of the House and entered into the permanent Congressional Records. The city launched its Bicentennial campaign in October with a sold-out concert saluting native sons Eddie Kendrick, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin, and Dennis Edwards, members of the original Motown group the Temptations.

“No celebration of Alabama’s rich musical history can be complete without recognition of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose life’s devotion to civil and human rights, including his most important Letter from a Birmingham Jail,  served as a source of inspiration for many artists, including the Blind Boys of Alabama,” states Dr. Panion. “And having a mixed and diverse group of singers from colleges and universities throughout the state of Alabama is representative of the spirit and ‘Dreams’ that Dr. King expounded.”  

Tickets are on sale now for $44, $34 and $24 and can be purchased online at alysstephens.org or by calling The Alys Stephens Center Box Office at (205) 975-2787.