We Shall Overcome - A Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Shows & Attractions


Inspired by the words and action of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “We Shall Overcome” is a joyful celebration of music from across the African American music traditions that electrified generations of civil rights activists and defenders with interwoven spoken word from Dr. King’s recorded speeches.

The production ties together a living lineage of music and culture that includes traditional gospel, modern gospel, classical, jazz, Broadway and spirituals. From Aretha Franklin, to Wynton Marsalis; Duke Ellington to Stevie Wonder; Nina Simone to Donny Hathaway; and traditional spirituals and music from “the Wiz”, Damien’s unique understanding of each genre allows him to fluidly cover so much musical ground in a single performance.

Producer and Musical Director Damien Sneed’s career covers an incredible breadth of genres. He has conducted and collaborated major original works for Wynton Marsalis, regularly accompanies Jessye Norman, collaborated with Lawrence Brownlee, and has toured extensively with Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and the Clark Sisters.

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“Damien Sneed finds new congregation with We Shall Overcome.

“Damien Sneed walked onto Zellerbach Hall’s stage on Thursday with tenacity, accentuated by his dark blue sequined suit jacket. His splendor was matched by his fellow artists onstage, as the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, in equally reflective dark green outfits, lined the backdrop with movement and color. The night was set for a grand performance. As Sneed sat down at his piano, he turned to share a sly smile with five accompanying singers and three fellow musicians before letting his fingers grace the keys of his piano.”

Click to read the full review

Francesca Hodges

The Daily Californian

“Damien is an extraordinarily talented, intelligent and well-rounded musician as well as a human being of depth and passion.”

Jessye Norman

“Damien Sneed is an ambassador for classical and gospel music who brings positivity, optimism andthoroughness to every occasion. His talent stretches across traditional divisions. In the realest sense, heuses his artistry to make our world a better place.”

Wynton Marsalis