Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy honored through music, dancing at Waddie Ann Events

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BY QUINTON R. ARTHUR

LANSING, Ill. (January 16, 2023) – On January 15, Waddie Ann’s Events & Venue hosted an event celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Guests were treated to live music acts, food, a photo booth, and vendors. 

For a flavor of the music-based celebration of Dr. King, watch the video below:

Music celebrating MLK’s legacy

C. Robert Walker, singer, songwriter, and producer, began the event as one of the featured acts. The genres he performs are House, Jazz, Neo-Soul, and Dance. He has toured in several countries around the world, including the United Kingdom, Africa, United Arab Emirates, Russia, and he recently returned from a tour in Europe. 

To Walker, the event was about remembering the legacy of Dr. King. 

“We don’t want the legacy that he had to die. We want that legacy to maintain, to bring us together, and to have a good time,” he said.

The event was produced by brothers Donald Rush and Jeffrey Rush, who have hosted similar events. A highlight of the evening was the modern rendition of the song “The Story of Dr. Martin Luther King”. 

Henry Rush, Donald and Jeffrey’s father, wrote the original version of the song, credited as the first song to tribute Dr. King’s legacy. The modern version of the song was performed by Kennedy Rush and Noelani A. McComb, Henry’s grandchildren. The song was a mix of R&B and a hip-hop verse, and is included in its entirety in the video above.

Windy City Ramblers

The last act of the night was the Chicago Windy City Ramblers. 

According to their website, the Chicago Windy City Ramblers is a non-profit brass band organization that is dedicated to the cultural development of the youth of Chicago through the brass band and second line culture.

Mario Abney, CEO of the Chicago Windy City Ramblers, was inspired by his time in New Orleans to create the band. He recognizes the contribution of the style of music to American culture. 

“When we talk about brass band music, New Orleans brass band music, and second line culture, this is a contributor to the net worth and framework of American music. To me, jazz music, brass band music is just as American as the ‘I Have A Dream Speech’,” said Abney.

During the Ramblers’ performance,  the crowd was encouraged to dance, or “let the beat hit your feet” as Abney said. The high-energy performance united the crowd in the type of community-building Dr. King once advocated for.

“Dr. King wanted the people of the world to come together and he had that love in his heart. When people come together, we can all see the light. When we talk about music, music brings people together and it is a universal language,” Abney said.

Youth interested in learning second line music can join the Chicago Windy City Ramblers at Harvey Boxing Club, located at 15331 Broadway Avenue in Harvey, IL. The workshops are held on Monday nights from 7 – 9 p.m. Youth ages 6 and up are welcomed.  

Waddie Ann Events

Waddie Ann Walton, owner of Waddie Ann Events & Venue, invites the community to host events at her space. Social events and conferences for up to 125 guests can be held there. Patrons can book an event by visiting https://www.facebook.com/eventswithwaddieann.

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Quinton received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University and his Master of Science in Journalism from Roosevelt University. In addition to reporting for The Lansing Journal and the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle, he volunteers with 100 Black Men of Chicago, Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Burst Into Books, and various other organizations. A south suburban resident since 2004, Quinton is passionate about telling the unsung stories of the community.

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