Freedom Sings Brings GRAMMY Award-Winning Musicians to Mizzou Arena Sept. 10

Free Public Concert to Kick Off Centennial/Dedication Celebration

Columbia, Mo. (Sept. 8, 2008) — “Freedom Sings™,” a critically acclaimed concert and multimedia experience featuring an all-star cast of musicians, will perform at 8 p.m. Sept. 10 in Mizzou Arena to kick off the centennial celebration of the Missouri School of Journalism and dedication of the new Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. The concert is free and open to the public. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Freedom Sings
Freedom Sings

“Freedom Sings™” presents First Amendment information with three centuries of music that has been banned, censored or served as a social anthem in the history of the United States. The program, hosted by Ken Paulson, BJ ’75, senior vice president and editor of USA TODAY, features live performances by hit songwriters and GRAMMY Award winners, along with video and live narration. The 90-minute event is produced by the First Amendment Center based at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

“The First Amendment Center and its ongoing program ‘Freedom Sings™’ are pleased to be part of the celebration of the Missouri program, of journalism education at its highest level,” said Gene Policinski, vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, which is an operating program of the Freedom Forum. “Music and musicians are a great way to remind our fellow citizens – particularly young adults – of the power, passion and value of free expression.”

The Freedom Sings cast will include:

Ken Paulson, BJ ’75, editor and senior vice president of USA TODAY and


  • Ashley Cleveland, a gritty, powerful singer and the only woman to win three Grammy Awards for best rock gospel album.
  • Don Henry, Grammy Award-winning songwriter whose work has been recorded by Ray Charles, Kathy Mattea and many others.
  • Craig Krampf, Grammy Award-winning songwriter and legendary rock drummer behind songs such as “Eye of the Tiger” and “Bette Davis Eyes.”
  • Bill Lloyd, former member of the top country duo Foster and Lloyd, whose work has been recorded by Hootie and the Blowfish and other top acts.
  • Jonell Mosser, soulful singer whose work can be heard in such films as “Hope Floats” and “Boys on the Side,” and who has performed with such talents as Ringo Starr and B.B. King.
  • Jason White, an innovative singer and songwriter who wrote the top 10 hit “Red Rag Top” for Tim McGraw.
  • Joseph Wooten, a singer and songwriter and keyboard player for the Steve Miller Band.
  • Jackie Patterson, an alumna of the historic Fisk Jubilee Singers at Fisk University.
  • The Wrights, a husband-and-wife duo who are rising on the Nashville scene as songwriters and performers.
Freedom Sings
Freedom Sings

“Freedom Sings™” began in 1999 with the first of a continuing series of annual concerts at Nashville’s famed Bluebird Café. The touring show began in 2001, and the group has since made appearances in 25 states and the District of Columbia.

“‘Freedom Sings’ is one of the best things I’ve ever experienced. It’s a history lesson mixed with a great concert,” said Amy Kurland at The Bluebird Café in Nashville. “The singers and musicians are marvelous. It’s one of those ‘I laughed, I cried, I got a lump in my throat, and I learned a lot’ experiences.”

Freedom Sings is just one highlight of the Sept. 10-12 centennial/dedication celebration. Alumni, citizens, journalists, communicators and academics from all over the world have registered for the three-day event, which also will feature more than 35 Futures Forum sessions, 11 exhibits and displays, four musical and theatrical performances, two evening meal events, book signings, tours and numerous networking opportunities with public relations practitioners, advertising professionals and journalists worldwide.

About the Missouri School of Journalism and Reynolds Journalism Institute:
Since publishing the student-staffed University Missourian on Sept. 14, 1908, the Missouri School of Journalism has been the international leader in hands-on journalism education, also known as the “Missouri Method.” The first to offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the field, the School is also the distinguished home of several national journalism organizations, mid-career professional programs and a thriving research agenda. Its advanced curriculum takes advantage of new technologies and practices, a tradition of innovation that will be intensified with the opening of the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI). This 50,000 square-foot facility, created with an initial $31 million gift from the Las Vegas-based Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, will house state-of-the-art resources to test and demonstrate new technologies, experiment with convergence news production and delivery systems, and conduct real-time and virtual seminars and conferences.

Updated: April 29, 2020

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