Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration

Sunday, January 17, 2021 at 2:00pm [recording available, see below!]

All are welcome to join in a virtual community event, Sunday, January 17th at 2pm, celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through music and conversation. The program will include performances featuring student musicians from Project STEP.  As part of the program, join us for a panel discussion with Patrice Jackson-Tilghman, acclaimed cellist & Project STEP faculty member; Kirk Johnson, STEP alumnus and Founder of SOUNDS Academy; Catherine T Morris, Founder of BAMS Fest and Director of Public Programs at The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; and Suubi Laurent, cellist & current STEP student. Project STEP Board member Audley Fuller will host the discussion.

This event is FREE and open to the public.

Click here to view a recording of the event. You will be asked to “register” which means you’ll be asked to share you name and email address.  After you enter that information, you’ll then be prompted to enter the passcode as listed below.
Passcode: B.r^vE34
Program Book: Click Here


Meet Our Panelists

Kirk Johnson, STEP alumnus and Founder of SOUNDS Academy

Kirk Johnson is a musician, performer, and educator that believes that the zip code of a child should not dictate their access to music education. Out of this belief, he founded SOUNDS Academy, a nonprofit music education organization that teaches, mentors, and provides musical experiences and opportunities for underserved youth. SOUNDS Academy teaches character values through music education. He began his musical journey in Boston, Massachusetts where he learned to play the violin and viola, took theory classes, played in chamber music groups and orchestras, touring countries like Italy, Mexico, and Cuba. As the CEO, Kirk has guided SOUNDS Academy in providing over 35,000 lessons and classes to children, while impacting an additional 19,000 students through the Musical Access program, where students attend concerts and are introduced to instruments in SOUNDS Academy’s Instrument Petting Zoos. In addition to students building confidence through performing in concerts, SOUNDS Academy is also making an academic impact with 100% of the students in their SOLO program being accepted into college on scholarship.


Catherine Morris, Founder of BAMS Fest and Director of Public Programs at The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

A mother, entrepreneur, and visionary, who works at the intersection of arts, culture and creative placekeeping. Over the last 20 years, Catherine has spent her time and energy producing shows, as well as mobilizing and engaging local audiences to experience the arts. As the Founder and Executive Director of Boston Art & Music Soul (BAMS) Fest, this volunteer run nonprofit organization that breaks down racial and social barriers to arts, music and culture for communities and artists of color across Greater Boston and beyond. As a result, BAMS Fest has presented 400+ local and national performing, recording and visual artists, curated in (25+) public spaces and has attracted over (10,000+) attendees. Catherine has been a presenter, panelist and moderator with SPARK Boston, Podcast Garage, Berklee College of Music, Emerson College, Northeastern University, Simmons University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Museum of Fine Arts. She is a 2018 National Art Strategies Creative Community Fellow (The Barr Foundation), and has served on grant review panels for the Cambridge Arts Council, The Lewis Prize for Music, and the Boston Neighborhood Fellowship (The Boston Foundation). Catherine is an alumna of Temple University School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management in Philadelphia, PA, and received her Masters of Science from Simmons University (Boston, MA). It is Catherine’s hope that BAMS Fest becomes a pipeline to Boston’s arts and culture ecosystem and creative economy in a manner that inspires hope, changes individual and societal bias, and positively impacts the livelihoods of future creatives.


Patrice Jackson-Tilghman, acclaimed cellist & Project STEP faculty member

Patrice Jackson-Tilghman joined the Conservatory in 2018 and is an associate professor of cello. In addition, she has served on the strings faculty at Berklee College of Music since 2013. Jackson, who has carved a name for herself as a gifted and charismatic young soloist, has been described as a “big-toned, boldly projected soloist” (Detroit News) who “wowed the audience with effortless facility, playful phrasing and a sense of spontaneity that one hears usually only from the highest caliber of musicians” (Hartford Courant).

In 2002, Jackson was awarded first place in the Senior Laureate Division of the nationally renowned Sphinx Competition, and was the recipient of the Yale University Aldo Parisot Prize, awarded to a “gifted cellist who shows promise for a concert career.” Since then, she has performed with the Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Omaha, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Grand Rapids, Nashville, Hartford, Chautauqua, Colorado and Mississippi symphonies, as well as the Philadelphia Orchestra. Jackson has performed with the Ritz Chamber Players, Castle of Our Skins, and Boston Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, in addition to faculty recitals at Boston Conservatory. Jackson received both a Bachelor of Music degree and Artist Diploma from the Juilliard School, and a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music. She has been a student of Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot, Joel Krosnick, and Bonnie Hampton. In addition to her classical credentials, Jackson has played behind some of the most iconic artists of our generation, including Alicia Keys, Kanye West, J-Cole, and Stevie Wonder.


Suubi Laurent, cellist and current STEP student

Suubi, cellist



Suubi Laurent, cellist, is currently a 9th grade student at Bishop Feehan High School. She joined Project STEP through the Kindergarten FOCUS program and studies with Alexander Badalov. She is a member of the Junior Repertory Orchestra (JRO) at New England Conservatory Prep and she’s also a student in the BEAM (Bridge to Equity and Achievement in Music) program, in which Project STEP is a proud founding partner.




Audley Fuller, Panel Host & Project STEP Board Member



Audley Fuller is a member of Project STEP’s Board of Directors, and a decades-long volunteer supporter of classical music in Boston. For more than thirty years, he has volunteered with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where he has held several volunteer officer and other leadership positions. Mr. Fuller also has volunteered with the Boston Lyric Opera for approximately twenty years, where among other activities, he has served on its Education Committee. Mr. Fuller is an attorney practicing in the Greater Boston area.