TLU to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. With Special Concert
Texas Lutheran University will host a concert honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his vision of social change and tolerance on Sunday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. in Jackson Auditorium. The concert “Remember! Celebrate! Act! – A Day On … Not a Day Off,” is open to the public and will feature gospel music band Wesley Bray and the Disciples of Joy, soprano Icy Simpson Monroe and pianist and TLU Part-time Instructor of Music Artina McCain. Readings by Seguin church elders and reverends will also be heard including words from Elder Eric Payne of Bethel Pentacostal, District Elder Marion Dolford of The Greater Refuge Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Reverend Jimmie Flakes of Second Baptist Church and Reverend David Schuler of Wesley Harper United Methodist Church.
About the performers for Sunday’s program:
Wesley Bray and the Disciples of Joy
The gospel music band, Wesley Bray and the Disciples of Joy, is a Christian band from Austin, Texas. Wesley Bray, the founder of the band, has more than 25 years of experience in singing, song writing, and arranging music. In 2008, God gave Wesley a vision for a new music ministry called, Wesley Bray and The Disciples of Joy. Wesley wrote many songs over the years, so in 2009, he began to compile traditional, contemporary and soulful gospel sounds that eventually culminated into his latest CD project, entitled Heaven.
Icy Simpson-Monroe has been hailed as a passionate singer whose love for music flows through everyone that hears her. Simpson-Monroe’s grace and talent has been conveyed through many roles including Susannah in Susannah, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel and Catherine in The Butler Opera Center’s world premiere of A View from the Bridge by William Bolcom (the chamber orchestra version). She attended the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, during the summer of 2006. She won the state and regional National Association of Teachers of Singing Competitions (2007-08), as well as the District Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 2007, 2008 and 2011. Simpson-Monroe is the winner of the 2008 Classical Singer Competition-University Division, and the winner of the Peoples’ Choice Award in the Dallas Opera Guild Competition in 2008. In January 2009, she was invited to participate in a master class with Maestro James Levine through the Marilyn Horne Foundation. Simpson-Monroe has accumulated many recent accomplishments include achieving second place in the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc., competition and appearing as Adina in the Butler Opera Center’s 2010 production of L’elisir D’amore. She made her solo debut with the Marshall Symphony Orchestra in January 2011. In April 2011, she performed the role of Despina in Così fan tutte with the Butler Opera Center.
Pianist Artina McCain, enjoys an active career as a solo and chamber performer, teacher, adjudicator and presenter. She has performed nationally and internationally including appearances in the Czech Republic, Italy, China and throughout the U.S. McCain’s performances have recently been broadcast on Chicago’s WHPK 88.5, KUT (NPR affiliate) 90.5, Houston’s KWWJ and Classically Austin’s KMFA 89.5 Pianoforte program as both a soloist and chamber musician. In the 2012-2013 season, she was a featured guest artist at the Great American Brass Band Festival, Gateways Music Festival and the Texas Music Festival. An avid chamber musician, McCain tours regularly with soprano Icy Simpson Monroe and her husband, Martin McCain, bass trombonist. McCain’s recordings include an album of African American Spirituals and Art Songs on the University of Texas’ Naxos-Longhorn Records titled I, Too which received an Austin Critics Table Award. A solo album including works by Debussy and Rachmaninoff entitled Preludes at the Piano and Trombone Czar which are available on the Kairoi Music label. In the 2014 season, the McCain duo will release an album of contemporary works with several commissioned works by composers Marcus Wilcher, David Wilborn and Pierce Gradone.