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Three area events celebrate King’s life

Carol Feineman
Roger Hogan (above) and Friends will perform jazz at the Baha'is of Nevada County MLK celebration.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Almost 34 years after his death, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words are still being heard throughout the country.

King, a 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner for his nonviolent struggle for civil rights, sought social justice for all during the 1950s and 1960s. He was killed at the age of 39 by an assassin on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn.

The federal Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is on Monday, and Nevada County residents of all ages can attend three free area public celebrations in King’s honor.

The Baha’is of Nevada County kick off the community celebrations with their fifth annual concert Saturday at the Center for the Arts.

“We sponsor this event because unity of mankind is the primary teaching of our faith,” said Baha’i member Maya Bohnhoff, one of the performers on Saturday. “That, and the elimination of racial prejudice is an important prerequisite to achieve that unity. We have a great affinity and respect for the work of Dr. King.”

Saturday’s celebration includes three music acts and a performance by the Sacramento Baha’i Youth Dance Workshop.

Singer-guitarist Bohnhoff will present originals about unity, the Root Down One duo will play Afro-Celtic funk, and Roger Hogan and Friends will perform jazz.

Hogan, a Chico State University music teacher, will also emcee the event. He has appeared on the Merv Griffin Show, the Tonight Show and recorded with legends including Sarah Vaughn, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Torme and Sammy Davis Jr.

“We keep speaking to a minimum. We’re using the arts to celebrate unity,” said Bohnhoff, who hopes for another good audience turnout this year. “Over 300 people showed up at last year’s celebration. They kept coming and coming. It was just unbelievable.”

Organizers ask that concertgoers bring nonperishable food, which will then be donated to the Food Bank of Nevada County.

The celebration begins at 7:30 p.m. The center is at 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley.

Call 477-6200 for more information.

For the past 17 years, the Marysville Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church Choir has performed to standing-room-only crowds at noon during community radio station KVMR’s all-day King-related programming on King day.

The concert date changes this year as the AME Church Choir performs from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center. Due to requests from the Yuba County community, the choir will now alternate performances between Marysville and Nevada City each year on King day.

The choir will also perform on Monday from noon to 2 p.m. at its church, 115 Fifth St. in Marysville. Call 742-3393 for more information.

Nevada City’s Rosa Lopez, who has emceed the choir’s performance here for 17 years, will carry on those responsibilities in Marysville. The Rev. Dante Rome will officiate and reflect on King’s life.

The church choir performs music ranging from spirituals heard during American slavery days to contemporary gospel fused with rap and hip-hop elements. The choir is in its 134th continuous year of performing.

The Union will provide free bus service to Monday’s concert. The bus leaves Rood Administrative Center in Nevada City at 10:20 a.m. and returns home from Marysville at 2 p.m. Bus rides are available to the first 50 residents on a first-come, first-served basis.

For the 19th consecutive year, Nevada City community radio station KVMR will devote a day of programming to King on Monday. The theme this year will be “The Dream Continues.”

The 17 hours of King-related programming begins with morning show host C.C. Love joined by Sacramento comedian and actor Moe Better Mann at 7 a.m. Also heard on Love’s show will be Anna Marie Carter, the “seed lady” of Watts, who has planted hundreds of organic gardens in Los Angeles.

Sunday’s concert by the Bethel AME Church Choir at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center will be broadcast at noon.

Derek Washington hosts three hours of jazz, blues and public affairs beginning at 3 p.m.

African-American poet and historian Odessa Bethea will be the special guest on the 7 p.m. “Women’s Show.”

The special programming ends with Steve Cagle’s “New Soul Revival” at 9 p.m. Cagle used to be a KVMR broadcaster, but moved to Tennessee in September to write a book and do radio shows about soul music.

KVMR can be heard at 89.5 on the FM dial or on the Internet at http://www.kvmr.org

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