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NJ Performing Arts Center presents Twelfth Annual MLK Celebration

 NJPAC Celebrates the Life and Legacy of
Featuring Grammy Award winner
With featured speaker
Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree

Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 7pm

Newark, NJ -The New Jersey Performing Arts Center presents the Twelfth
Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration on Thursday,
January 14, 20010 at 7:00pm in Prudential Hall.  This spirited musical
celebration, on what would have been the 81st birthday of the Civil
Rights leader, is headlined by Grammy, Dove and Stellar Award-winning,
nationally acclaimed gospel singer and pianist Smokie Norful.  He brings
his powerful, soul-stirring musical genius to NJPAC in celebration of
one of the twentieth century’s most inspiring leaders.  Reverend Dr.
Joseph E. Lowery, who delivered the benediction at the inauguration of
President Obama and leader in the American civil rights movement, will
speak about the life and legacy of Dr. King. Tickets are $16 for
children (under 14) - $38 for adults, and may be purchased by telephone
at 1-888-GO-NJPAC (1-888-466-5722), at the NJPAC Box Office at One
Center Street in downtown Newark, or by visiting the NJPAC web site at This event is presented as part of the PSE&G Holiday
Celebration and the Verizon Passport to Culture: FamilyTime Series.

Prior to the performance, NJPAC will honor LaVar Young, the Director
for the Newark Comprehensive Center for Fathers, an organization that
serves fathers in transition - those who have lost their homes and jobs
to those re-entering the workforce following incarceration - as
“Visionary of the Future,” and Maria Vizcarrondo, named by Mayor
Cory Booker as Director of Newark’s Department of Child and Family
Well Being, as “Steward of the Dream,” at 5:00pm in NJPAC’s Chase
Room.  Tickets for the reception are $32 (does not include a performance
ticket).  Ms. Vizcarrondo was President and CEO of United Way of Essex
and West Hudson, creating the nationally recognized community
initiatives, Project Leadership and Celebrity Read©. This event is
presented as part of the NJPAC Arts Education Department’s PSE&G
Holiday Celebration and the Verizon Passport to Culture: FamilyTime

More background information is below.  Please contact us with any
questions, for interview requests or to arrange for review tickets.


Within only seven years, Smokie Norful has become a striking force in
gospel music, reaching benchmarks that have taken others a lifetime to
achieve. He’s a Grammy, Dove and Stellar Award winner, a two-time
gold-selling artist and remains a fixture on top of the Billboard
Charts. Norful discovered his love for music at a very young age, and
with the support of his parents, explored many genres of music,
including R&B and soul as well as gospel. Influenced by artists such as
Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, Norful’s music can be described as
gospel fused with 70's and 80’s soul and contemporary R&B. 

Best known for his successful 2002 crossover album, I Need You Now and
his GrammyÓ   winning 2004 release, Nothing Without You, Norful delivers
a combination of both  his artistic and pastoral talents in his
first-ever live recording, Smokie Norful Live. Released in April of this
year and immediately followed by a concert DVD in September, Smokie
Norful Live features the singles, ”Justified,” "Jesus is Love" with
Heather Headley, and "God's Gonna Come Through" featuring Tye Tribbett.
For more information:

Born in Huntsville, Alabama in 1921, the Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery
has been one of the nation’s strongest and most consistent advocates
for racial justice, human rights, and world peace. His profound career
of advocacy, spanning over half a century, began in the early 1950’s
in Mobile, Alabama. Following Rosa Parks' arrest in 1955, Lowery helped
lead the Montgomery bus boycott and headed the Alabama Civic Affairs
Association, an organization which spearheaded the movement to
desegregate buses, other public places and the hiring of black police
officers. Along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph David Abernathy
and other prominent southern ministers, Lowery organized the Southern
Leadership Conference in 1957 where he served as vice president until
1957, Chairman of the Board until 1977 and CEO and President until 1998.
He also served as pastor of Cascade United Methodist Church in Atlanta
from 1986-1992, increasing the congregation by over a thousand members.

Reverend Dr. Lowery has received several of awards and commendations.
The NAACP  presented him with one of the highest awards at its 1997
convention for "dean of the civil rights movement" and Lifetime
Achievement Award. He has also received the Martin Luther King Jr.
Center Peace Award and the National Urban League's Whitney M. Young, Jr.
Lifetime Achievement Award. Ebony Magazine named him one of the 15
greatest black preachers, describing him as, "the consummate voice of
biblical social relevancy, a focused voice, speaking truth to power.”
On January 20, 2009, Lowery delivered the benediction at the
inauguration of President Obama.  He received the nation’s highest
civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Barack
Obama in August, 2009.

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in the heart of an
emerging downtown Newark, New Jersey, is the sixth largest performing
arts center in the United States.  Home of the Grammy® Award-winning New
Jersey Symphony Orchestra, NJPAC has been widely cited as a catalyst in
the revitalization of New Jersey's largest city, attracting over 6
million visitors (including more than one million children) in its first
twelve years of operation.

Programming has been made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey
State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the
National Endowment for the Arts and by funds from the National Endowment
for the Arts.

NJPAC is a wheelchair accessible facility and provides assistive
services such as TTY ticket purchase, designated seating, Sennheiser
infrared listening devices and seat cushions.

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Celebration NJPAC’s Prudential Hall
Smokie Norful and Reverend Dr. Joseph Echols Lowery          Thursday,
January 14, 2010 at 7:00pm
are $16-38 adults, $16 children

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center presents its twelfth annual
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration featuring Grammy, Dove
and Stellar Award winner, Smokie Norful and Presidential Medal of
Freedom honoree, Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery.

Tickets are $16-$38 for adults and $16 for children (under 14) for the
performance, $32 for a pre-performance reception, and may be purchased
by telephone at 1-888-GO-NJPAC (1-888-466-5722), at the NJPAC Box Office
at One Center Street in downtown Newark, or by visiting the NJPAC web
site at

NOTE: For high-resolution images, please contact Josh Balber at
973-353-8051 or by email at
# # #

STORY TAGS: 12, twelfth, 12th, annual, nj, new jersey, performing, arts, ceremony, center, celebration, mlk, martin, luther, king, jr, junior, black, african, american, minority, news, history, 2010, REVEREND DR. JOSEPH E. LOWERY


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