POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College paid tribute Monday, Feb. 13, to the late Medgar Evers with a piece composed for the PRCC Wind Ensemble.
Luigi Zaninelli, retired music professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, wrote Take My Hand based on the hymn Precious Lord which was a favorite of Evers’.
The PRCC Wind Ensemble premiered the composition during a concert at the Brownstone Center for the Arts.
“I am so glad that I was able to be here tonight,” Zaninelli said while explaining why he chose to work with the hymn. “I liked it because it had a beauty and elegance of sound that I liked,” he said.
Precious Lord was also one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorites and was sung by Laurel’s Leontyne Price at the funeral of President Lyndon Johnson, he said.
“Not only was it important to the African-American community, but it meant a great deal to many people in the civil rights movement,” Zaninelli said.
Evers, who lived in Jackson, was well known as a civil rights activist. He was shot to death in front of his home on June 12, 1963.
Dr. Kyle Hill, director of bands and chair of the Department of Fine Arts and Communication, conducted the Wind Ensemble.
“It is indeed an honor for the PRCC Wind Ensemble to participate in this program,” he said. “This will be the first performance of this piece ever. It is our hope that this composition will become a standard of high school and college band literature and, therefore, spread awareness of Medgar Evers.”
The Wind Ensemble also played A Hymn Tune Rhapsody and The Washington Post March.
The PRCC Wind Ensemble plays Take My Hand.
Composer Luigi Zaninelli talks about Take My Hand, the piece he wrote for the PRCC Wind Ensemble as a tribute to civil rights icon Medgar Evers.
PRCC Public Relations photos