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We Shall Again - A Lyrical MLK Celebration

We Shall Performance

We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration
Saturday, January, 18th, 2020 at 3pm
The Museum of the American Revolution

101 S 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Admission Information


The Philadelphia Jazz Project has been invited to remount our exciting Martin Luther King performance at The Museum of the American Revolution. We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration is an engaging intermingling of spoken word, singing and instrumental music paying tribute to one of America’s greatest citizens and thinkers, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Utilizing brief excerpts from King’s speeches and sermons as inspiration and a combination of Gospel, Jazz and Blues music, this piece explores the inner workings of a mind and body in struggle.

We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration is a different approach to the MLK presentation.

It is an affirmation and a statement that emerges out of the will for self-determination.

We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration is a combination of poetry, song and improvisation. It is a faith song, ...a praise song, ...a fight song, ... a love song.


We Shall - Toby & James Sing


Kareem Idris - vocals

Toby VEnT Martin - vocals

V. Shayne Frederick - vocals

Kendrah Butler-Waters - piano & vocals

Jocko McNelly - bass & guitar

Kimpedro Rodriguez - drums


We Shall Panorama 1


PJP captured notes from a conversation between PJP Director, Homer Jackson and singer/songwriter and frequent collaborator, James Solomon. These two gentlemen were part of the creative team who generated the initial, We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration presented in January 2019.


PJP: Why is MLK still important now?


James Solomon: Martin Luther King was the most important orator of the 20th century for the most effective movement of that period. The significance of King’s oratorial skills cannot be overstated as he was able to capsulize highly sophisticated strategies into words that inspired non-violent civil disobedience by the masses of people who, irrespective of their social, educational, or economic status believed in democracy.


We Shall - KendrahBecause the current racial climate still maintains many vestiges of a historically unjust system, it is difficult to imagine things being worse than they are now for many underrepresented groups, but they were. The civil rights movement toppled the pillars of racial segregation and resulted in tectonic generational shift in opportunities for African Americans and indeed all Americans that is by and large taken for granted today. And Martin Luther King is recognized worldwide as the voice of that movement.


Homer Jackson: I think Martin Luther King Jr. is still important today because his message is timeless. He addresses our fundamental human desires for fairness and justice, as well as our tendencies toward selfishness and greed. He brilliantly speaks to that perpetual swing bewteen our capacity of community, sharing and peace and our capacity of exploitation, corruption and violence. King boldly spoke to that when he was alive and the iuniversality of his message continues to indict us today.


PJP: What is the message of this MLK event?


We Shall - KareemHomer Jackson: At its core, this project seeks to reframe the conversation of Martin Luther King Jr. from being about a man "who died for us" to a more complex view of a brilliant man whose life was snuffed out by those who wished to maintain, by today's standrards would be hard to believe were actually the status quo of those times. Since then, people have tended to elevate King's image at the expense of his humanity. It is critical to emphasize that he was a husband, a father, a son, an uncle, a neighbor, a friend and should have been able to become a grandfather. Those grandchildren whom he never met, as well as the world at large, should have been able to witness further contributions from this brilliant mind.


James Solomon: The message of the MLK event coincided greatly with the essence of King’s legacy as it was a multilayered inclusive presentation that weaved together different musical genres and oratorial platforms in-service to the moral message of justice.


We Shall - Kim Pedro & JockoPJP: What did the audience experience last year and what is going to happen this year?


James Solomon: The audience experienced a joyful event that was powered by a righteous energy that will be carried forward in the upcoming production.


Homer Jackson: Last year, the attending audience experienced an afternoon of fellowship with each other, as well as a powerful concert with words that reanimated King's message in a beautiful and hopefully meaningful way. This year, we intend to make that message resonate again using Gospel, Jazz, Blues and more to pay homage to one of America's greatest citizens: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


We Shall Panorama 2

This Performance Is Free with Museum Admission

(Admission: $21 for Adults; $18 for Students, Seniors, Active & Retired Military; $13 for Children 6 & up).


Click Here For More Information About The Museum of the American Revolution





Kendrah ButlerKendrah Butler-Waters is a pianist, composer, violinist, and vocalist from the outskirts of Philadelphia. She holds a dual Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Sociology from Temple University and in Elementary Education from Drexel University. Kendrah has been a featured artist on radio station WRTI and her music is on current rotation. She has been a music director for the Philadelphia Jazz Project, a Jazz Artist in Residence (2015-2016) with the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, the pianist for the entire National Black Catholic Congress in Orlando. She has performed on both domestic and foreign soils, and most recently performed with Actor/Director LeVar Burton for his “LeVar Burton Reads” Tour.




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Remedy - Kareem Idris Kareem Chappelle who performs under the name Kareem Idris is a world traveling social worker, educator and performer. He has worked in the Mental Health field for the past 12 years. He has worked populations with diagnosis ranging from Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, ODD, and ADHD. His current position is Case Manager for the Focus on Fathers Program via the Health Promotion Council at the Public Health Management Corporation. Fluent in Arabic, Chappell has served as an English professor in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and in Cairo, Egypt. An initiated priest in the Yoruba/Lukumi tradition, Kareem Idris works to create a bridge musically and a platform of awareness and healing through words to positively impact the listener and utilize music as a therapeutic tool.



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Remedy - V Shayne Frederick V. Shayne Frederick is a pianist & vocalist. He began his formal musical study at Dartmouth College and later, in a Jazz band in Philadelphia led by legendary organist, Trudy Pitts. His craft has been honed at local venues including, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation, SugarHouse Casino, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Resorts Casino, Society Hill Playhouse, Clef Club, African-American Museum in Philadelphia and more. Frederick has a melodic classic sound with a contemporary and creative personal touch. The human connection has been his lifeblood.






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Jocko McNellyJocko McNelly is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and teacher. Though he considers the Blues and Soul Music to be his "base camp," he takes great joy in covering a range of styles: Jazz, R&B, Calypso, Reggae, Afro-Cuban, Country, Bluegrass, various styles from Brazil, Africa, Arab and Jewish music. He has performed with such diverse talents as Billy Eckstine, Lou Donaldson, Phyllis Diller, Archie Bell, A House of Freaks, the Richmond (Va.) Symphony, Carter Beauford and Tim Reynolds. Since 1981, Jocko has been teaching in colleges and universities, both in the classroom and to instrumental students of bass and guitar. Former students have gone on to work with national acts including Herbie Hancock, Widespread Panic, Duke Robillard, and the SNL band.







Remedy - Kim PedroKimpedro Rodriguez is product of the culturally diverse Spring Garden section of Philadelphia. Rodriguez is a visual artist and musician with 20 years of experience. Rodriguez created Kimpedro's NU GRuV Network in 2012. NU GRuV Network is a diverse collective of artists. Kimpedro has worked with artists like, Pheralyn Dove, Tyrone Brown, DM Hotep, Robert Kenyatta, Byard Lancaster, Raphael Xavier, Marcell Bellinger, Monica Herzig, Reut Regev, Kendrah Butler, Adam Faulk and Tony TNT Jones. Kimpedro has performed at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Barnes Foundation, Ardmore Music Hall, World Café Live, The Kimmel Center, The Planetarium of The Franklin Institute, Welcome Americas Festival and many other venues.




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tobymartinToby VEnT Martin is the lead singer and lyricist of VEnT, an alternative rock/soul band from Philadelphia. While VEnT has many influences, their sound is unparallel to anything the industry has heard. VEnT fuses Soul with Alternative Rock, while dabbling in jazz, funk, contemporary christian, R&B, gospel and  other genres. VEnT has shared the stage with artists like Marsha Ambrosius, Syleena Johnson and Monifah. VEnT currently has three albums: Out the Box (2010), Beautifully Broken (2011), and Just Leftovers (2012). VEnT has performed at many venues in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware, as well as numerous venues in Connecticut, Chicago and New York.



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We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration
Saturday, January, 18th, 2020 at 3pm
The Museum of the American Revolution

101 S 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Admission Information



Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1954 until his death in 1968. Born in Atlanta, King is best known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience. These tactics were in line with his Christian beliefs, and inspired by the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.


King led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and in 1957, he became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He also helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. On October 14, 1964, King won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. In March of 1968, King went to Memphis, Tennessee, in support of the black sanitation workers, who had been on strike for 17 days for higher wages and better treatment. This would be his final campaign. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.


For More Information About MLK





The Museum of the American Revolution is a Philadelphia museum dedicated to telling the story of the American Revolution. The museum was opened to the public on April 19, 2017, the anniversary of the first battle of the war, Lexington and Concord, on April 19, 1775 and features and unmatched collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, documents, and works of art. Visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in the ongoing promise of the American Revolution.



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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.


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Tags : WeShall LyricalMLKCelebration MartinLutherKingJr MLK MuseumoftheAmericanRevolution KareemIdris TobyMartin VShayneFrederick JamesSolomon KendrahButlerWaters JockoMcNelly KimpedroRodriguez Gospel Jazz Blues affirmation selfdetermination poetry song improvisation faithsong praisesong fightsong lovesong PhillyJazz


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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.