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Support the 2020 Tour of Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement: The Power of Song in the U.S. and Japan.


For The Power of Song, 2020 is set to become a banner year. The organization has requests to bring its flagship production, Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement: The Power of Song to Florida, California and Japan. Although the Florida and California performances are a return to the production’s beginnings, the Japan trip would become the first international performance of the full show.

The seeds for the international production were planted and have been growing over the last two years, after CEO September Penn joined mentor Makoto Fujimura for a series of arts and music events in and around Tokyo. Organization co-founder Ivan Penn joined his wife and Fujimura for a second trip to Japan in December 2018. The Penns’ work with Fujimura attracted the attention of NHK Direct TV, which aired a 15-minute feature about their work. The interview as seen by an estimated 300 million viewers.

To support the production’s performances in 2020, The Power of Song is raising $150,000 through sponsorships and donations. The shows will bring United States youth, amateur and professional artists together nationally as well as with Japanese children and adult performers internationally.

“This is an exciting collaboration of artists across the country and on both sides of the globe,” September Penn said. “I am humbled to have the opportunity to bring this work to people throughout the world, in particular to share it with our friends in Japan, who have become dear to me.”


Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement: The Power of Song shares the history of the music that drove the movement. The multimedia production includes live music and dance couple with narration that details the background of the songs.

The domestic and international performances give students, disadvantaged youth in particular, the opportunity to share their talents in places they often have only read about. In addition, they received the mentoring from awarding-winning professional artists as they performance side-by-side on stages in coveted locations.

The production began in St. Petersburg, Fla., as the official kick-off event for the city’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at the Palladium Theater. The production had its national premiere in Pasadena, Calif., in 2017 at the prestigious Ambassador Auditorium.  In 2018, the production returned to California with a performance at the Alex Theater in Glendale.

In 2020, the production is scheduled to go to stage at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in the Korea Town area of Los Angeles. The Florida production is scheduled to return to Tampa Bay and the performance in Japan is scheduled for Tokyo.


The Power of Song in Japan: In December 2018, Power of Song CEO September Penn performed at Aoyama Gakuin University, an event that served as a prelude to the performance of her production Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement: The Power of Song, planned for 2020.