Professor, Students Bring Word and Song to MLK Event

Allen Bush
January 14, 2010
Professor Armsted Christian's Flo'ology Experience performs jazz, soul and spoken word at the Museum of Fine Arts free MLK Day open house.
Shea Rose is among the Berklee students performing in Flo'ology.

The joyous sounds of the Twelfth Baptist Church's gospel choir; jazz, soul, and spoken word performances from Berklee College of Music; and the mysteries of a 4,000-year-old Egyptian tomb will await visitors to a free Martin Luther King Jr. Day Open House at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), on Monday, January 18, from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The schedule of performances is below.

Other highlights will include a poetry slam, a screening of short films, and gallery tours of the MFA's collection in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language (ASL). The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Open House is underwritten by the Citizens Bank Foundation.

The Museum of Fine Arts is located at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston. Call 617 267-9300 for information, or visit for directions.

The Armsted Christian Flo'ology Experience, a popular Berklee ensemble performing music and spoken word, will give a concert with special guest student performers Shea Rose, Sophia Pizzulo, Sid Sriram, and Nick Hakim.  

The gospel choir from the Twelfth Baptist Church, in Roxbury, will perform a series of rousing and powerful songs and share the story of the church's connection with Martin Luther King Jr. 

A poetry slam by local spoken-word artists Bridgit Brown, Ayo "Reason" Yayo, Josiane Martinez, and Tony Tran will round out the afternoon. 

In addition, the MFA's Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Film Program will screen a series of short films that showcase artists Romare Bearden and Al Loving and illuminate the culture and history of the indigenous Haida people of the Pacific Northwest.

Exhibitions on view during the Open House include The Secrets of Tomb 10A: Egypt 2000 BC, a display of objects from a 4,000-year-old tomb, shown together for the first time; Object, Image, Collector: African and Oceanic Art in Focus, a show that explores photography's role in the promotion and recognition of African and Oceanic objects as art; and Albrecht Dürer: Virtuoso Printmaker, a dazzling collection of iconic works by the master printmaker.  

"The Citizens Bank Foundation's gracious support of this Open House has provided the MFA with an opportunity to look back at Boston's rich history and celebrate its vibrant present through song, film, and poetry," says Zakiya Thomas, manager of community relations at the MFA.  "We are also delighted to continue our collaboration with Berklee College of Music and to welcome a group of artists, from spoken-word poets and musicians to the singers of the Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury."

Additional programming will include art-making activities for families, and guided gallery tours will be offered throughout the day. Family Tours are designed especially for visitors with children.

Performances take place in the Remis Auditorium in the following order:

Gospel Concert by Twelfth Baptist Church

12:15–1 p.m.

Twelfth Baptist Church of Roxbury will present a gospel concert and highlight the church's history of civil rights and song. 

Poetry Slam

2:30–3:30 p.m.

This poetry slam will showcase spoken word artists from across the Boston area.

Berklee College of Music Presents the Armsted Christian Flo'ology Experience

3:30–4:30 p.m.

Berklee professor and musician Armsted Christian will perform soul, jazz, blues, and r&b with special guests, including Shea Rose, Sophia Pizzulo, Sid Sriram, and Nick Hakim.  Christian and his students will included original spoken word pieces in their performance.