The Power of Song Inc.
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Another Year for the Books.


Since The Power of Song Inc. began in 2015, it has quickly moved from a local arts organization that primarily produced the Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement: The Power of Song theatrical and song presentation to an international entity that is touching people across the globe. As it will become clear throughout this annual report, the organization has increasingly shown enormous potential to serve and affect the social landscape domestically and abroad.

The Power of Song in 2018 brought performances of Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement to Florida and California as well as participated in events across America, Africa and Japan. Programs have expanded and although some core elements will be on hiatus during 2019, this pause has positioned the organization for a strong 2020 to begin the next decade. New relationships have fostered fresh opportunities for The Power of Song to continue touching the world.

We appreciate the support of sponsors, team members and volunteers who have helped make The Power of Song an exciting venture.



Data compiled by Staff.


Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement: The Power of Song


This year’s productions of Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement: The Power of Song again drew largely sold out crowds to the Palladium Theater over the three performances at the 850-seat auditorium and about 1,000 at the Alex Theater in Glendale, Calif. With roughly 200 cast members participating in the two states, the total participation included about 4,000 people.

The production received rave reviews from audiences. The Florida audiences were given the most comprehensive survey The Power of Song Inc. has conducted. In the comments section of the survey, many respondents simply stated, “extraordinary,” “I loved it all!!!” “All A++” and “Everything was awesome. I loved it, again.”

Some critical remarks, included three comments that it “could be shorter,” with one person noting that the preliminaries delayed getting to the production too long. Others thought we should be charging for it.

Additional details about the survey can be found later in the report. Some particular highlights from the 2018 production included the addition of a cold start with the song “What the World Needs Now,” which many praised. We added a scene in Florida that we first performed in the California about the Japanese American internment that the audience members found enlightening.

The Power of Song Music Contest saw a 33 percent increase in participation for this year’s event. Marketing and Promotion The production received strong support from local media with interviews with anchor Al Reuschel at Bay News 9, on Radio Active with Rob Lorei at WMNF radio and in print at the Weekly Challenger, which included photos and videos from the production.

Boyzell Hosey, an assistant managing editor at the Tampa Bay Times, ran the production on Facebook Live and drew

hundreds of viewers to the performance. About 30 t-shirts and hoodies became a hot commodity at the production, which indicated that there is a great deal of excitement and buzz around the event, and additional ones have been purchased. This media support proved critical as the early start to the King holiday events immediately after the New Year was difficult for many of the organizations, institutions and individuals involved.

But the effort also meant new partnerships, including community members who provided a Sunday brunch for some of the out of town performers on a stationary boat in Vinoy marina. The added gift inspired the performers as they prepared to deliver the production.As part of the weekend, local businessman Mario Farias organized the brunch for a couple dozen cast members aboard a historic ship.

The success of the production in St. Petersburg has drawn increased interest in California, as The Power of Song Inc. brought the production to stage for the second year in Southern California at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. With support from Fuller Theological Seminary and Montrose Church, the production proved a hit with the West Coast audience. The California production featured “Peaches” from the 70’s hit group “Peaches and Herb,” known for the songs “Shake Your Groove Thing” and “Reunited.”

For the first time, The Power of Song worked with the Harambe Kid’s Choir from Pasadena, Calif., a group that performed the children’s choir segment.

A philanthropist from Japan has proposed bringing the production to Tokyo in 2020. We are very proud of the project that was born out of the MLK Day of Service Advisory Board and St. Petersburg College and led by Sen. Darryl Rouson in Tallahassee.



increase in music contest participation


Audience attendees



pounds of food collected




The Power of Song’s domestic programs 


Speaking Engagements and Public Events

The growing enthusiasm about The Power of Song and its offerings have attracted interest nationwide in CEO/Artistic September Penn. September is an increasingly sought after public speaker and performer along with her theatrical productions.

September’s domestic speaking events in 2018 included events at First Presbyterian Church, Hollywood, the Social Justice Conference at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Missiology Lectures at Fuller Theological Seminary. She also was invited to participate as a vocalist in the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination at Stanford University.

Music Contest

This year’s first place winner was Zach Blair-Andrews of Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg. Zach performed “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” on guitar, using a life looping technique that won the judges’ praise.

The field included Hillsborough County for the first time. And the second place winner, Robert Austin, who sang “A Change is Gonna Come,” is a senior at Tampa’s Pepin Academy. The third place winner, Tendani Musengwa, a 9th grade student at Gibbs High School, performed “Strange Fruit” on piano while also singing. Tendani was the 2nd place winner last year.

Community Service Awards

This year, The Power of Song Inc. acknowledged the work of Dr. Linda Hogans and Rev. Kenny Irby, whose support of the kick-off event have been steadfast, with community service awards. Rev. Irby, who created the Men in the Making African American and Latino male mentoring program also for the second found financial support to bring three mentees to California to perform in the production in the West.

The experience of traveling and sharing with other communities has proven a valuable part of the mentoring experience. Officers from the St. Petersburg Police Department also connected with the Los Angeles Police Department to participate in the production.


The Power of Song international programs 


International Programs and Events

The Power of Song’s influence reached Africa in 2018, as September shared about the organization and performed during a conference in Kenya, Africa. Then in Japan, September and organization President Ivan Penn spoke and performed in Tokyo, under the leadership of their mentor Makoto Fujimura.

Kenya, Africa

In Kenya, September attended the Global Consultation on Music and Mission. During the conference, she performed and shared about The Power of Song, endearing the Kenyans to her as they connected with the message of social justice that is at the heart of the organization.

The two-week trip was part of her studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. Dr. Roberta King sponsored the trip as part of her class Global Christianity Worship and Witness, which September took during the summer.

Tokyo, Japan

In Tokyo, Japan, September and Ivan spoke and performed in a variety of arts venues, ministries and Aoyama Gakuin University, where many of the children of the Japanese royals attend. September wrote and recorded a song during the trip about the art of kintsugi, which takes broken pottery and pieces it back together, filling cracks with gold. The song likens the art to the Christian experience of being put back together.

The trip included an interview on NHK TV’s Direct Talk. The interview was a 15-minute feature that focused on the work of The Power of Song and aired to 300 million people. The program has been used to interview some of the world’s top leaders.


Support The Power of Song’s goal to reach Japan in 2020.