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Alabama A&M alum produces Blind Boys of Alabama documentary on PBS

HUNTSVILLE — Alabama A&M University alumnus Dr. Henry Panion III has produced a one-hour music special “A Symphony Celebration: The Blind Boys of Alabama with Dr. Henry Panion III.”

Dr. Henry Panion III (UAB/AAMU Contributed)

The program premieres on public television stations nationwide Friday. The performance features the Blind Boys of Alabama performing with a full orchestra and a combined choir from Alabama’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Panion, a Grammy-winning music professor, earned his music education degree at Alabama A&M and his master’s and doctorate in music theory at Ohio State University.

A composer, conductor, educator and professor of music in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences, Panion has worked with Blind Boys of Alabama for 20 years.

Panion arranged the exclusive performance of the Blind Boys’ hits with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and a 300-person choir that includes Alabama A&M University, Miles College, Tuskegee University, Alabama State University, Talladega College, as well as Birmingham Southern College and the UAB Department of Music.

The concert-documentary was filmed in Alabama and shares the history of the Blind Boys and explores how they broke racial barriers and redefined modern gospel music.

“A Symphony Celebration: The Blind Boys of Alabama with Dr. Henry Panion III,” will air Friday on Alabama Public Television at 9:30 p.m.

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