Martin Luther King Jr. Men's Chorus
January 17, 2011 ·
The Martin Luther King Jr. Male Chorus of West Virginia performed Monday at an interdenominational service in Charleston. It was the conclusion of a busy week of performances celebrating their namesake.
Fifteen years ago, a group of
men from different churches in the Kanawha Valley formed an ensemble sing for a program honoring Martin
Luther King Junior’s birthday. W.I. “Bill” Hairston has been a member of the
chorus for seven of these years.
"Over this time, they have
become a sort of a prayer group for each other. They’ve grown in size to 41
men. They come from 27 denominationally different churches, from Hurricane to
"There was a
strong feeling that Martin Luther King represented certain values, and certain
beliefs that these men wanted to hold on to.
One way that they could do that was naming the group Martin Luther King
Junior Male Chorus. And I think over the years, they’ve pretty much made what
they believe MLK Jr. would have wanted to see."
They share their message through
music both old and new in venues around the state.
"It’s all gospel music that
comes in all different forms. There’s something there for everyone. If you come
to one of our concerts, you will hear old music, from the 1800s, like old
rugged cross, and you’ll hear some of the newest most innovative music. Our
group ranges from 17 years old to 83 years old, so we got a lot of different
perspectives on music."
The chorus has performed in Charleston and Parkersburg, at religious and civic events, nearly every day for
the past week. In the past year, the chorus also performed at memorial services
for Sen. Robert Byrd and the Upper Big Branch mine victims. Next month, the
Martin Luther King Junior Men’s Chorus will have at least six more performances
in different parts of the state.
want to serve. We are Christians; we
want to carry that message. But we also want to carry the message of brotherhood,
of love, of simply tolerance and understanding, and that’s how we try to
present ourselves in the music that we do."