Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the final speech of his too-short life at the Clayborn Temple in Memphis, Tennessee on April 3, 1968, the night before a sniper’s bullet struck him as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. The words of his last speech in Memphis almost seemed to foreshadow his untimely passing:

“I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

King’s assassination is a dark chapter in our city’s history, but his legacy can be seen everywhere you look. This spring, PRIZM Ensemble presents “A Concert For The Next 50 Years,” commemorating 50 years since King’s passing, and looking forward with hope toward the next 50 years.

A concert for the next 50 years

Part of a series of events that will honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, A Concert for the Next 50 Years promises to be one of the great musical events of the year in Memphis. The concert will feature the PRIZM Chamber Orchestra, the PRIZM Celebration Chorus and several guest soloists performing music by Mahler, Florence Price, Moses Hogan and others.

The concert takes place at the Clayborn Temple—the site of Martin Luther King’s Jr.’s final speech—on Thursday April 5, 2018 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Tickets are available now for $19.68 General Admission. $50.00 VIP Admission tickets are also available, which include a reception with light refreshments at 5:30 PM the evening of the concert, along with a special behind-the-scenes look at the making of the concert.

The PRIZM Ensemble

Since its inception in 2005, the PRIZM Ensemble has established itself as one of the premier performing and touring musical ensembles in Memphis, the group’s diversity reflecting the diversity of the city itself. PRIZM’s goal all along has been to build community through chamber music education, youth development, and performance.

A Concert for the Next 50 Years is the latest project for the group, which has never shied away from socially-charged musical performances. During last year’s Juneteenth celebration, PRIZM performed “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed” by Atlanta composer Joel Thompson alongside Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante and Common and John Legend’s “Glory” from the film “Selma.”

The performance proved—if it needed proving—that the beauty of music and social justice go hand-in-hand. It’s a message with which Dr. King would no doubt agree.

Visit the National Civil Rights Museum to learn about more upcoming MLK50 events in Memphis.

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