UAB's Henry Panion to lead “An All-Star Salute to Selma” on March 8

The salute is part of a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” the Selma-to-Montgomery march, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

panionHenry Panion III, Ph.D., will produce and lead “An All-Star Salute to Selma” on Sunday, March 8, during the annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee. The salute is part of a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” the Selma-to-Montgomery march, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Panion is a University Professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Music.

Panion will lead the GSC Symphony Orchestra and a mass choir, with an array of notable gospel and R&B guest stars, including Kirk Franklin, Ruben Studdard, Lady Tramaine Hawkins, Sounds of Blackness, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Howard Hewett, Richard Smallwood and others. More artists will be added to the schedule, Panion says.

The salute will begin at 3 p.m. after the annual pilgrimage of thousands who come each year to cross Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the Bloody Sunday march. The three-hour concert will honor the civil rights leaders and foot soldiers who put themselves in harm’s way to secure the voting rights of African-Americans and all citizens. A crowd of about 50,000 is expected, according to organizers. The event is free. 

Panion says he is honored to pay homage to the past by contributing his talents for this concert. He hopes to garner a 1,000-voice choir to accompany the stars and his orchestra. Famous artists from across the American music community are reaching out to join the effort, including Quincy Jones III, Earth Wind & Fire, and Frankie Beverly & Maze, according to Panion.

“I don’t want us to take our eyes off what we’re really here for, a particularly tragic and pivotal moment in our history,” Panion said. “Yet we want to come together, and I hesitate to use the word celebrate; but yes, we are celebrating the fact that we have come this far. So it’s my chance to give back.”

Church choirs, community groups or individuals who would like to join the 1,000-voice choir can visit Panion’s Audiostate 55 Recording Studio and Entertainment Company’s website, for more information.

Panion has recently had noteworthy performances of his works with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony and the Dayton Philharmonic, including the commission of a new arrangement by the Indianapolis Symphony of the gospel classic “Order My Steps.” Other popular arrangements of his were programmed for these performances, including “Oh Happy Day,” “I Love the Lord” and “Total Praise.”

Panion will give the keynote address to an audience of more than 20,000 at the 2015 National Conference of Technology Institute for Music Educators, which is meeting jointly with the Texas Music Educators Association. The topic is “Music Technology: The Effect on Performance and Education.”

From Henry Panion as of March 2: Confirmed artists to appear in “An All-Star Salute to Selma” 

Aloe Blacc

Anthony Hamilton

Arrested Development

BeBe Winans

Bill Withers

Blind Boys of Alabama

Cicely Tyson

Dave Hollister

DeWayne Woods

Doug E. Fresh


Flavor Flav

Gladys Knight

Harry Belafonte

Jasiri X

Kelly Price

Kirk Franklin


Malcolm Jamal Warner

MC Lite

Peter Yarrow

Rick Ross

Ruben Studdard

Tamar Braxton



Tom Joyner

Tramaine Hawkins