SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Symphony Orchestra celebrated the life and spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the Symphony Hall stage Saturday evening.

Music of African-American composers was performed by the Orchestra, and guest pianist, and highlighted in a spoken word presentation by Springfield’s Poet Laureate, Magdalena Gómez.

Concert attendees heard works such as Lift Every Voice and Sing, Rise to the Occasion, The Audacity of Hope, and Fannie’s Homecoming, composed by the evening’s conductor who was inspired by the legacy of a leader in the Civil Rights movement.

“Tonight you’re going to get to see some conductors showcased that would have never been able to have been showcased without someone that we had in our history like Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Heather Gawron, Development Department at Springfield Symphony. “Music is something that brings our community together and gives us the opportunity to experience something we wouldn’t have been able to individually.”

More than 1,100 people attended this first-ever musical celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. and Gawron told 22News she looks forward to this event continuing in the years to come.