"Actions count, words matter, music heals" is the mantra of an upcoming performance by violinist Robert McDuffie and actor-playwright Anna Deavere Smith.
McDuffie and Smith first collaborated at the Aspen Ideas Festival a few years ago. Smith performed Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” while McDuffie played a selection of pieces from folk songs to classical repertoire, including “How Great Thou Art,” “Ashokan Farewell,” and Handel’s “Largo,” amongst others.
McDuffie joined WABE's Lois Reitzes to talk about this performance and to talk about his Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.
After Aspen, the duo decided to take the performance to San Francisco, California, and from there, McDuffie wanted to perform in his hometown Macon.
The revitalized performance of “Letter From Birmingham Jail” will be held at Macon's Beulahland Bible Church in Macon at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 21, but this time, it incorporates stories from local civil rights icons.
Smith will perform as Charlayne Hunter-Gault, the first black student to integrate at the University of Georgia, and as John Lewis as he accepts the apology from a man who beat him up years before.
In addition, McDuffie Center for Strings students will join Smith and McDuffie and perform Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings."