On Monday, the Montgomery County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Committee invites 2,000 area residents to honor the Civil Rights icon with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Birthday Tribute and Celebration.
The 90-minute concert marks the 20th anniversary of the event and will be held at the Music Center at Strathmore. The afternoon will feature a diverse group of performers and will award honorees who serve their community.
ABC 7 News anchor Leon Harris will serve as master of ceremonies. The event will feature local talent, including Washington, D.C., saxophonist Brian Lenair. Lenair, who performed at the tribute two years ago, is one of 11 acts scheduled for the celebration.
“We held a talent search back in October,” said Rachel Reed, program chair for the event.
Reed added that the panel of three judges was in search of performers who they felt were in line with the tribute celebration’s theme: “celebrate, serve, remember.”
“[We wanted] finalists that we felt ... had something that related to Martin Luther King’s purpose about serving and giving and about being together.”
The afternoon’s lineup alone is a realization of King’s dream.
“It does a great job of honoring him because there are so many different races, so many different creeds coming together,” said Lenair. “It’s very diverse. It has all different types of singing groups.”
Lenair, who released his smooth jazz CD, “Eye of the Storm,” two years ago, said he will most likely play some original music, a gospel song and a rendition of the Beatles’ “Come Together.”
Other performances include a song from a group of hearing and deaf students at Cashell Elementary School who will sing and sign a song dedicated to King. Students from the Washington Dunhuang Guzheng Academy will perform on the guzheng, a traditional Chinese string instrument.