Music will set the tone for MIT's 23rd annual celebration of the ideals of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King February 6-8.
George W. Russell Jr., minister of music at the New Covenant Christian Center in Mattapan, and Wannetta Jackson, a featured singer in the NCCC choir, will perform at the Celebratory Breakfast on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 8am at La Sala de Puerto Rico in the Stratton Student Center. The celebration will conclude with "Journey Into a Dream," the fourth annual musical tribute to Dr. King by jazz vocalist Semenya McCord. The concert is scheduled for the MIT Kresge Auditorium on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 8pm.
Requests for invitations to attend the breakfast must be received by Friday, January 31. For information, see the Web site at
Mr. Russell, a finalist in the International jazz piano competition in Paris in 1989, holds the MA in jazz studies from the New England Conservatory of Music and the BS in music education from Duquense University in Pittsburgh. He is on leave as the chairman of the jazz department at the New England Conservatory extension division.
Ms. Jackson, who attended the Berklee School of Music, has received awards from the Boston Jazz Society and the Berklee School. She is a worship leader at the NCCC.
Ms. McCord has created a program of jazz vocals, music and dance, using Dr. King's own words to address the theme of the celebration, "The Strength to Love": Facing the Crisis of the Underclass. "The Strength to Love" is the title of a collection of sermons by Dr. King published in 1965.
Ms. McCord was cited as 1988's Outstanding Jazz Vocalist by the Boston Music Awards and received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Musical Excellence from the city of Boston in 1990. She teaches at UMass-Dartmouth and gives private voice lessons at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, the New England Conservatory's extension services program and the applied music program at Tufts University. She is a member of the Boston Jazz Society, the Massachusetts Music Educators Society and the International Association of Jazz Educators.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 29, 1997.