Paying tribute to MLK, this concert gives opportunity for Nashville's young singers

Let Freedom Sing
Posted at 5:58 PM, Jan 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 16:05:47-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Next week's Let Freedom Sing concert is in rehearsals now at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The show will be a tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For 25 years, the concert has become a place for introducing new performers to opportunity.

Part of the chorus at a Monday night rehearsal was 6th grader Harmoni Russell.

"I'm into music and singing," she smiled. "I love singing because I get to use my voice and get to come out of my shell a lot."

Harmoni's hope is singing will one day bring her to a place of subways, of pizza joints, of playbills, and stages.

"I want to go to Broadway and sing for musicals," Harmoni said.

A rehearsal like this might be a step toward that. Certainly her parents are proud of this sound. After all, they were at the rehearsal, participating as part of the chorus.

"Just to hear the acoustics of the building of the room, it sounds good. Sounds real good," said Harmoni's father, Adrian Russell.

Adrian and Julia Russell met in show choir at Hunter's Lane High School. Back then, they were also part of the special show called Let Freedom Sing.

For the 25th year, the Choral Arts Link's program The Met Singers is getting kids in 4th through 12th grades to perform as the Celebration Youth Chorus. They perform with more experienced singers and the Nashville Symphony. Adrian and Julia remember when they were teens, how a performance this big made them feel like so many opportunities are possible.

"It created that feeling of, 'I could actually do this,'" said Adrian. "It meant a lot because it was a way I could express myself."

"You have all these people you can push and can push you," added Julia. "It's confidence building for children."

This year is something special, sharing a stage with a daughter who could someday be Broadway bound.

"I was looking across the room at her singing and it made me glow," Julia smiled. "It's kinda surreal and full circle to see she's going that way. I see the change in my daughter becoming more confident. She's making me proud. I'm a proud mom."

The concert is this Monday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. For more on the event visit here.

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