The Power of Song Inc. formed after the first performance of CEO/Artistic Director September Penn’s production, Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement: The Power of Song, which served as the official kick-off event for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in St. Petersburg, Fla. The organization also shares the rights to the original play, The Cardboard Stories, a tale about the faces of homelessness. The Power of Song also has participated in and produced other projects and events.


Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement: The Power of Song


Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement: The Power of Song shares the music and history of the songs that drove the movement. Written in 2014 by September Penn, the co-founder, CEO and artistic director of The Power of Song Inc., the production first went to stage in January 2015. It has been performed in Florida and California, with fresh scenes from year to year and casts of as many as 150 people. Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement was featured in the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Pulitzer Prizes, an event that aired on C-SPAN. The production was largely written with a particular ensemble in mind, The Passages Singers, who have traveled the world with Dr. Clayborne Carson, a Stanford University history professor who wrote a play, called Passages of Martin Luther King. Dr. Carson’s play led to the formation of The Passages Singers as an ensemble. They first performed in Beijing, China, with The National Theater Company of China as part of a full-staged production of Dr. Carson’s play. In 2011, the U.S. Department of State sent the production and The Passages Singers to East Jerusalem and the West Bank to perform the play with Palestinian National Theater to encourage those in the peace movement.



In the News


The Cardboard Stories


The Cardboard Stories is an original production about the faces of homelessness, written by Marvia Joye Watkins Williams with music by September Penn. The play was a collaboration with the Pinellas County, Fla., Coalition for the Homeless. It first went to stage in 2010 as a way to bring attention to the plight of those living on the streets, in particular people who slept in the Williams Park area of St. Petersburg, Fla. The production was the brainchild of George Bolden, who served as executive producer. The leaders of the production spent a weekend sleeping on the streets and in a homeless shelter to taste of what those who are living it everyday endure.

September Penn and her gospel singers stopped the show with Faces of Hope.
— John Barry, The St. Petersburg Times

Faces of Hope

The cast of The Cardboard Stories recorded original music and are seen here performing the song “Face of Hope” at a workshop of the play at The Studio@620 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The music was arranged by Steve Wilson, Michael Kernodle and Sylvester Bryant.

(Listen to the song on the link below).


Hope for You

September Penn first recorded the song “Hope for You” as her first single. She rerecorded it with a new approach for The Cardboard Stories at Dodge Songs Studio, operated by Darrell Dodge. Soloists: Phillip Michael Williams, Toni Rackard and September Penn.

(Listen to song on the link below).


In the News


A Tampa Bay Feature

The Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s largest newspaper, featured the making of The Cardboard Stories in a lengthy story that followed the play from creation to the stage.