Mary Mary Entertains, Inspires Sold-Out Moody Music Concert Hall

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By Yiben Liu
CCBP Graduate Assistant

Mary Mary, the Gospel recording and Grammy award-winning sister duo of Erica and Tina Campbell, brought high-powered performance and invoked great enthusiasm for faith and music among the audience at the 29th annual Realizing the Dream Concert Sunday, January 14 at the Moody Music Concert Hall. The concert was jointly sponsored by The University of Alabama, Shelton State Community College, and Stillman College. It is one of many events in 2018 in the Tuscaloosa area honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the legendary civil rights leader.

“We are honored to be here,” Erica Campbell said, “We’ve come to honor the legacy of giving your own for the greater good of the people. Because of the sacrifices of others, we all are here tonight.”

Before the concert, UA Student Government Association President Jared Hunter, Shelton State Community College Collegiate 100 President Toya Carter, and Stillman College SGA President Quinvarlio Kelly welcomed the audience and acknowledged Friday night’s Legacy Award winners.

Hunter said the event demonstrated “a yearning for freedom. We are able to look out over this crowd tonight and see that the day has indeed come, when as Dr. King predicted, all of God’s children, black and white, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing.”

Mary Mary and their band ignited the passion of the sold-out audience as soon as they started to play and sing. Applause and whistles filled the two-floor hall. Many in the audience stood, swayed, and sang along with the performers throughout the whole concert.

Erica and Tina Campbell also shared their life stories and how love and faith guided them through difficult times. Moved by their faith and spirit, audience members once again cheered and wildly applauded.

At the end of the concert throughout the music hall, as the tradition goes every year, audience members stood, held hands, and sang what has become the civil rights anthem,“We Shall Overcome,” bringing the concert to its climax.

Many fans attending this year’s concert are repeat attendees, but each year’s event also draws some new spectators. Among those attending for the first time were the Whatley family from Anniston. Brian had known about the concert for many years and brought his wife and sister to this year’s concert. He described the event as “awesome” and said his family “totally loved it. It helps bringing in love, bringing us together,” he said.

“The bonding was beautiful,” said Brian’s sister Erica Whatley.

Community Affairs Vice President Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, whose office makes the arrangements for the Realizing the Dream events each year, commented on the concert and Friday night’s Legacy Banquet featuring actor Danny Glover. “Despite some of the coldest days of the year, people from all over the state of Alabama turned out in record numbers for these two events. As we near thirty years of these performances, interest in our Realizing the Dream celebration continues to grow. This year’s two main events — the Mary Mary concert and Legacy Banquet featuring Danny Glover — were especially representative of this year’s ‘Through Service to Others’ theme.”