The Passages Singers 


From left to right: Kim Nalley, September Penn, Re Phillips, Phillip Michael Williams, Ken Alston Jr., Aleta Hayes, Chelsi Alabi, and Steve Wilson (below, at piano).


It Began in Beijing, China

The Passages Singers first formed when mentor Dr. Clayborne Carson (center), a Stanford University History Professor and Director of Martin Luther King Research and Education Institute, invited five African Americans to participate in a full-staged production of his play, Passages of Martin Luther King. September Penn and Ken Alston Jr. served as co-music directors for the performance with The National Theater Company of China.

Passages of Martin Luther King, Beijing, China 2007

Passages of Martin Luther King, East Jerusalem and the West Bank 2011

In 2011, at the time of the Arab Spring, the U.S. Department of State sponsored 12 performances of Passages of Martin Luther King in East Jerusalem and in the Palestinian territories, including Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus and Jenin. The Passages Singers grew and performed this time with the Palestinian National Theater.

The Pulitzer Prize Centennial Celebration 2016

After September Penn wrote her own production in 2014, Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement: The Power of Song, the Passages Singers became an established ensemble. A social justice component of the Pulitzer Prize’s 100th Anniversary featured the singers. The event was aired on C-SPAN.

Everyone in attendance was moved into deeper contemplation by the music itself, but also the passionate voices of the ensemble.
— Nancy Earle, Pulitzer Prize Centennial Project Manager

The Passages Singers Across America


Sharing King’s Message in Song

The Passages Singers come from nearly the four corners of the country: Northern and Southern California, New York, Atlanta and Tampa Bay. They have performed from the East Coast to the West Coast.