Times Staff Report
Local Grammy-winning composer Dr. Henry Panion III and civic and cultural leader Dorothy Rogers Porter were honored recently by the Birmingham Chapter of the Links Inc.
“An Evening with Friends: Heart & Soul” Gala was held at Alys Stephens Center for Performing Arts on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
Panion served as the honorary co-chairman along with Birmingham Chapter of the Links Inc. co-chairs, Gaynell Hendricks and Anne Hooks and Chapter President, Dr. Monique Gardner-Witherspoon.
“This year we were pleased to honor one of the phenomenal legacies of our chapter, Link Dorothy Rogers Porter,” said Witherspoon. “It is fitting that this honor will generate more impactful Links programs in our community.”
Porter, a member of the Birmingham (AL) Chapter Links, died in
2013. From Orville, Alabama, Porter was a graduate of Alabama State University and Wayne State University in Detroit. She was also a mezzo-soprano, with a music career in Boston and New York.
Porter had a heart for the arts and encouraged and mentored many in the local arts community, the Birmingham Chapter said in a statement.
“As the wife of the prominent pastor, the late Reverend John Thomas Porter, she established a musical and cultural ministry that continues to thrive at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.”
Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and a Birmingham native, recounted Porter’s impact on the arts. Other program participants included Hrabowski’s wife Jacqueline, a former student of Porter’s, flutist Kim Scott, and two Porter children, Mia Porter and Robert Porter.
Performances during the evening included jazz band leader Eric Essix, Scott and a three-string quartet from students at Alabama School of Fine Arts.
The EMERGE ART Gallery featured local artists and participants in the Links’ ArtWorks program for young artists.
The night continued with Art Conversations with WBHM 90.3 hosted by the station’s Sherrel Stewart in the Recital Hall.
Since 1956, The Birmingham (AL) Chapter, of The Links, Incorporated has been creating and supporting opportunities for educating minority youth in the arts and presenting and supporting performances by youth and accomplished professional artists in a diversity of disciplines.
Annually, members of the Birmingham Chapter The Links, Inc. volunteer more than 3000 hours in service to the Greater Birmingham community. Their work covers a broad spectrum of initiatives including public education, health and wellness, and fine arts education. The chapter’s signature program, JAMS (Joining Artists and Music in the Schools), is a comprehensive music education program that exposes elementary school students to various musical genres while also providing educational enrichment programming.
The Links, Incorporated is an international, not-for-profit corporation, established in 1946. The membership consists of 15,000 professional women of color in 288 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and the United Kingdom. The organization was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 9, 1946.
Updated on 9/21/2018 at 3:46 p.m. to correct the number of professional women, chapters and states.