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Spotlight: Orlando Mayor’s Dr. MLK Jr. Commission 9th concert brings angelic tones to Steinmetz Hall

A singer belts out on stage at the Steinmetz Hall during the Orlando Mayor's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission concert in 2023.
Orlando Mayor's Dr. Martin Luther King
A singer belts out on stage at the Steinmetz Hall during the Orlando Mayor's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission concert in 2023.

Nearly 400 Gospel singers will fill Dr. Philips’ Steinmetz Hall with their voices February 2.

The Orlando Mayor’s Dr. Martin Luther King Commission, of which WMFE is a sponsor this year, is putting on its ninth annual gospel concert.

Why gospel?

The mission of Orlando Mayor’s Dr. Martin Luther King Commission is to strengthen the community by promoting King's legacy of service, equality, justice, peace, respect and inclusion for all, according to the City of Orlando’s website.

Marcia Hope Goodwin, Director of the Office of Community Affairs and Chief Service Officer for the City of Orlando, said that mission is what drives the commission.

“The purpose is to help share what Dr. King was all about, but also get people in our community to understand why it still matters, the things that Dr. King lived and died for are still relevant to us now.”

Marcia Hope Goodwin stands for a portrait in the rotunda of the Orlando City Hall.
Talia Blake
Marcia Hope Goodwin stands for a portrait in the rotunda of the Orlando City Hall.

With King being a reverend, Goodwin said it’s fitting for the commission to put on a gospel concert, with this year’s theme being Through the Storm, I Need You to Survive.

“This particular concert features a lot of the songs that were used, shared, and became the soundtrack of the civil rights movement. We've heard many of these songs before, but many of them we haven't. There will be a blend of familiar gospel music and spirituals and some of the newer, more unique pieces that may not be as familiar.”

What to expect

Attendees at previous gospel concerts by the MLK Commission have been moved to tears from how deeply they were touched by the music, said Hope Goodwin.

“I have heard people say, who have come to this concert, that it really is just one of the most inspiring musical experiences they've had.”

Hope Goodwin said this is an event for everyone, regardless of their religious affiliation.

“This is an event that really does feature the human voice, the beauty of the voice, and the range of voices. The music is an inspiration to anyone. It has nothing to do with your religion, or beliefs.”

Hope Goodwin gave a preview of a few songs attendees will hear during the concert, like Life Every Voice and Sing.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

Concert goers will also hear Deep River, which Goodwin said, “has been in Broadway plays, but is still a gospel song.”

Deep River

Goodwin said her favorites that will be sang at the concert are Total Praise and Whole World In His Hands.

Total Praise

Whole World In His Hands

Attending the concert

The MLK Concert is Friday, February 2 at 7 p.m. at Dr. Phillips Center’s Steinmetz Hall.

The event is free to attend.

Tickets for the concert are available upon request online at the Dr. Phillips Center’s website, but Goodwin said there is limited availability.

“However, we know that some people will request a ticket and not come.”

For that reason, she said you can still request a ticket.

“In previous years, we've had thousands of people that have signed up and always there's a 15 to 20% attrition rate and people that don't come.”

Therefore, Hope Goodwin said they will let people and until all the seats have filled.

“But if you have a ticket, you will be in line first and then everyone who doesn't have a ticket will be able to fill in as many seats as we have available.”

After a brief stint as Morning Edition Producer at The Public’s Radio in Rhode Island, Talia Blake returned to Central Florida Public Media. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with degrees in both Broadcast Journalism and Psychology. While at UCF, she was an intern for Central Florida’s public affairs show, Intersection. She joined on as Morning Edition Host in 2019. In 2022, Ms. Blake was appointed to the Florida Association of Broadcast Journalist’s board of directors.
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