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Damien Sneed brings black history celebration to Wharton Center

Damien Sneed’s North American tour, “We shall Overcome: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” is stopping at Wharton Center at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14. This is a joyous celebration reflecting on the triumphant and victorious moments during our history. As a multi-genre artist, Sneed is bringing his brand of classical, jazz and sanctified soul to East Lansing during Black History Month.

Tickets start at $23 and are available at, at the Auto-Owners Insurance Ticket Office or by calling 1-800-WHARTON.

“The best part of this tour is how we will be able to touch the lives of so many different people through the lyrics and messages in the music,” Sneed said.

Sneed is a multi-instrumentalist and producer, and he has worked with jazz, classical, pop and R&B legends including Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and many others.

He has served as the music director for Grammy® Award-winning gospel artists such as The Clark Sisters, and he is the 2014 recipient of the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence honor, which is presented annually to emerging Black and Latino leaders in classical music. Recently, he premiered his new opera, “We Shall Overcome – Our Journey: 400 Years from Africa to Jamestown,” at Carnegie Hall for the Sphinx Organization Performance and Gala. “Marian’s Song,” a new chamber opera about the life of Marian Anderson for Houston Grand Opera, is his next commission premiering this March.

Wynton Marsalis says, “Damien Sneed is an ambassador for classical and gospel music who brings positivity, optimism and thoroughness to every occasion. His talent stretches across traditional division. In the realest sense, he uses his artistry to make our world a better place.”

Sneed is also a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music, where he teaches graduate-level courses including conducting, African American music history and gospel music ensemble.

Sneed studied at some of the finest conservatories and universities, including Howard University, where he earned a Bachelor of Music in piano performance; the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University; New York University, where he earned a Master of Music in music technology: scoring for film and multimedia; and the Manhattan School of Music. This upcoming year, Sneed will earn his doctorate in orchestral conducting from USC.

By: Bob Hoffman