New addition to MLK events is about bringing a diverse community together

spalisin@thesunnews.comJanuary 13, 2013 

  • If you go Martin Luther King Day Jr. Celebration With | Coastal Inspirational Ambassadors gospel choir When | 7 p.m. Thursday Where | Coastal Carolina University Wheelwright Auditorium, off U.S. 501 in Conway How much | Free tickets from box office Information | 349-2787 or www.coastal.edu/culturalarts Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Banquet By | Georgetown Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. When | 7 p.m. Saturday Where | Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 417 Broad St., Georgetown How much | $25 Information | Morant & Morant law office, 1022 Prince St., Georgetown, 527-2448 Carolina African American Heritage Foundation weekend in Myrtle Beach • Brown bag working luncheons, each 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday: Conversation with Brad Lofton and Brandon Sessions with the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp at Myrtle Beach Train Depot, 851 Broadway St.; and “Helping the Underserved to Become Legendary Entrepreneurs and Leaders” with Sharnell Ladson, at Sandy Grove Baptist Church, 1008 Carver St. • “Carolina Has Talent – “A Musical Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” competition, 4-9 p.m. Saturday in Myrtle Beach Base Recreation Center (918-2380), 800 Gabreski Lane, near Farrow Parkway and The Market Common, with P.J. Browning, publisher of The Post and Courier and former publisher of The Sun News. Grand prizes of $1,500 for first place, $1,000 second, and $500 third. Admission is $5 donation. • “Civil Rights Sunday,” 5-7 p.m. Sunday at Sandy Grove Baptist Church, in a joint effort by various organizations and churches, with a keynote speech about unifying communities and cultures. • Corporate and Community Awards Breakfast, 8-11 a.m. Monday at Myrtle Beach Canal Street Recreation Center, 901 Canal St., recognizing community members for their outstanding contributions, and guest speakers Jean Hoefer Toal, chief justice of the S.C. Carolina Supreme Court. $25 donation or $200 for table of eight. • Fifth annual “Freedom Rally” parade, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, with grand marshals Mignon Clyburn, a commissioner for the Federal Communications Commission, and Ernest Finney Jr., retired S.C. Supreme Court chief justice, from Pelicans Ballpark stadium parking lot, off 21st Avenue North, left on Grissom Parkway, then right on 21st Avenue, right on Carver Street to Mount Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church Information | Bennie Swans at 903-4939, email swansbennie1@aol.com, or visit www.carolinaafricanheritagefoundation.org Martin Luther King celebration When | 10 a.m. Monday With | The Rev. Jonathan Green, pastor of St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church of Little River as guest speaker, with his church’s choir and members of the congregation Where | Chesterfield Missionary Baptist Church, 8591 S.C. 90, Longs Information | 399-6421

The national holiday in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. is one week away, but the celebrations in honor of the slain civil rights leader start Thursday night with a concert at Coastal Carolina University right on through Monday with a parade in Myrtle Beach.

The Carolina African American Heritage Foundation has another weekend of events planned, including the addition of a competition, “Carolina Has Talent – “A Musical Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” 4-9 p.m. Saturday in the city’s Base Recreation Center.

The chairman of the Myrtle Beach foundation, Bennie Swans, couldn’t contain his excitement and impressions from the roughly 40 local and regional acts who entered for a chance to join the music extravaganza. He said two special guests will entertain for intermissions.

A KISS tribute group was referred by Jon Cupo, the new co-host of “The Drive” on WSEA-FM “Sports Radio” 100.3.

“They told me they dress and sound like KISS,” Swans said, also happy to welcome Banana Jack Murphy of WLSC-AM 1240 of Loris, “who will treat us to songs with his guitar.”

Question | How did this idea for an musical showcase come up? What better way to engage people of all ages than through music?

Answer | One of the most important legacies of Martin Luther King was to engage in your history through community, stories and songs. We’ve lifted another aspect from this, and we’re looking at song as being a bridge to the community affectionately with people.

Q. | How vast is the talent covering this affair?

A. | We are excited about this. We have so many talented young people, doing all kinds of music, whether they’re doing rap or country western or rhythm and blues or classical. Our young people deserve a venue where they can display their talent. ...

For 10 finalists, no matter what type of music ... or even a classical version on the xylophone ... these are talented young people, black and white and brown and yellow. It’s not about skin tone; it’s about the substantive nature of being human beings.

Q. | From how far were applications for this showcase made?

A. | We have entries from Mount Pleasant, Columbia and Marion, but the bulk did come from Horry and Georgetown counties. We’re saying to all people in Myrtle Beach: Come our and enjoy yourselves listening to these talented young people and the genres of music.

Q. | Adding this component to the celebration, how does this music sing its own note when it comes to awareness and gratitude?

A. | Music is the ultimate vehicle to the community, given the opportunities ... to bring young people together, and I cannot think of a better opportunity than bring this on Martin Luther King Day weekend.

Q. | So the competition will be some work for the judges to weigh?

A. | We’ll have a panel of judges, and they’ll take into consideration the audience reaction, so the judges and audience will help choose the winners. The most important thing is ... this is a community effort, and with the talent the young people bring us, it’s the glory, and everybody wins.

Q. | In what other ways has this whole process moved you?

A. | I’m not a judge, and I know very little about music, but what has impressed me most about this effort is ... it is just a marvelous collection of talent that goes across racial and economic boundaries, and that’s really the entire motivation. What it is all about is to build that kind of unity and have people work together. ... It is just so amazing, something so warming to my soul. ... You have to see it to believe it.

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.

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