MLK Day celebration to include live documentary stage show honoring early civil rights work

Tony Brown in I Go On Singing: Paul Robeson's Life in Word and Song

In observance of Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Day and the civil rights work of Dr. King and others, Hesston College will host peace ambassador and internationally-acclaimed baritone Tony Brown in his documentary concert experience, I Go On Singing: Paul Robeson’s Life in Word and Song. The show will be on Sunday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. at Hesston Mennonite Church on the Hesston College campus.

Tickets for I Go On Singing are $12 for adults and free for students and children college-age and younger. Tickets can be purchased at the Hesston College Bookstore in Erb Hall or by calling 620-327-8104. They will also be available at the door prior to show time.

Promotion for I Go on Singing states: “Before Rosa Parks. Before Martin Luther King. Before Nelson Mandela. There was Paul Robeson.”

The 90-minute song-filled, multi-media presentation recounts the life and work of Paul Robeson, an influential 20th century figure who was successful and widely known in a variety of arenas. Robeson was an all-American athlete, scholar, champion orator, international recording artist and star of the stage and screen during the 1930’s and 40’s. He was also a social activist and courageous example of integrity and discipline in the service of peace.

The Denver Post praised the show, which has been performed in venues across the country since 2011, saying, “Brown delivers with generous beauty.”

Accompanied by a pianist, photo and video projection and a narrator, I Go On Singing is equal parts historical documentary and live concert experience with Brown depicting Robeson. Using excerpts from Robeson’s autobiography, Here I Stand, and comments from legendary peace activist and artist Pete Seeger, the show traces Robeson’s humble beginnings as a preacher’s son in Princeton, N.J., to his international celebrity and pioneering activism on the world stage.

Serving as narrator for the Hesston show will be Victor Hogstrom, president and CEO of KPTS TV Wichita (PBS).

Brown, who The Seattle Times noted as “a warm and noble baritone,” is an international promoter of peace and Hesston College artist in residence. His work as a musician has taken him to areas of conflict around the world to use music and storytelling for peacebuilding across the divides of race, culture and religion.

The I Go On Singing performance is part of several days of public community events hosted by Hesston College in observance of MLK Day. Other events include:

  • Jan. 19, 10:30 a.m., Glen Guyton, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, will bring the Sunday morning worship service message at Hesston Mennonite Church
  • Jan. 20, 7 p.m., Guyton will present a free community workshop on community-building. Event description: Diversity, equity and inclusion were at the heart of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Join us for a community event focused on translating those principles into a dream for the future that connects with founding principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The intersection of the American and Dr. King’s vision can help us all grow, increase our productivity and expand the impact of our businesses, civic leaders, private organizations and residents of Hesston and Harvey County. We can do more together, increasing our cultural competence and generating opportunities for our community.


Thank you to Everence for their sponsorship of the show, helping to offset some of the ticket cost.