Group gets ready for an MLK Jr. celebration

STEUBENVILLE – Juanita Slappy said it has been an honor to be a part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Mass Choir for the past 40 years, performing at an annual event dedicated to keeping the work of King alive.

The choir will be among the groups performing at 6 p.m. Saturday at Second Baptist Church, 717 Adams St., for the Martin Luther King Jr. Musical Extravaganza.

Delores Wiggins, minister of music, said the choir was formed more than 40 years ago. Slappy was one of the charter members.

Wiggins said members of the choir call her before the event anxious to perform.

“It is a once-a-year celebration,” she said.

“It is an exciting time for all of us in commemorating the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his endeavors and mission. He was appointed by God, just as Moses was appointed by God, to bring people to a point. We also will be remembering Nelson Mandela, who brought South Africa to a point where you see no color. We are happy these men came along at their time. It is a good celebration for all of us,” Wiggins said.

Slappy said she got involved in the choir because of who Martin Luther King Jr. was.

“They said they wanted to form the choir as a recognition. I thought it was a great thing for all of us to do in his memory and dedicate the service to him in keeping his work alive. It is still a close-knit choir. We are still dedicated and look forward to this,” Slappy said.

The musical extravaganza also will feature the Martin Luther King Children’s Choir, under the direction of Lisa Thomas. Thomas has been directing the children’s choir for the past five years.

Wiggins said the event Saturday will feature several groups and soloists and speeches about King.

There also will be an ecumenical service at 6 p.m. on Jan. 19 at Quinn Memorial AME Church, 515 North St.