EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan State University paid tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during their 42nd annual Jazz, Spirituals, Prayers, and Protest concert event.

Sweet sounds of jazz music could be heard throughout the Fairchild Theatre in East Lansing where hundreds gathered for this event to honor Dr. King’s life and legacy. 

This concert is a part of a week-long series of MSU event themes after Dr. King’s book, ‘Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?

The event featured performances by the MSU Jazz Orchestra with guest conductor and American jazz trumpeter Charles Tolliver and a performance by multi-genre recording artist, Damien Sneed.

Educators say that jazz was birthed during a time when community and self-expression were of utmost importance within African American communities, and that many jazz artists became activists during the civil rights movement, creating its soundtrack.

People who attended the event say it was right on time and brought about unity. 

“This event, the music and inspiration that they displayed is needed even more so than ever before,” said Lansing resident Julian Vandyke.

“Even though we’ve had to celebrate in some virtual formats, I’m just so honored that we had also this format that was safe with all these regulations that allowed us to come together to enjoy these talented young people,” said Dr. Emilie Smith, Director of MSU Youth Equity Project.

This is just one of many events this week honoring the life of Dr. King. MSU’s Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives will continue in celebration through Jan. 25.