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Jazz at Lincoln Center and the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs announced today The Melvin Williams Group will tour Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Georgia with The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program. The gospel group from Smithdale, Mississippi, was selected from a pool of more than 100 applicants to travel abroad and encourage mutual respect and understanding. International tour activities will include public concerts, master classes, lecture-demonstrations, workshops, jam sessions, collaborations with local musicians, and media outreach. Since 2005, 150 musicians from 39 ensembles have toured with the program, visiting over 100 countries on five continents.

The Melvin Williams Group is one of 10 ensembles selected as U.S. Music Ambassadors to represent The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad. Since 2006, the program has sent more than 100 musicians on tours to 97 different countries, most of them outside the reach of American music. Melvin Williams has been in the industry for 50 years. His dedication to gospel music has garnered him 6-GRAMMY® award nominations and a host of Stellar Awards collectively as a solo artist and with The Williams Brothers.

The Group tweeted yesterday:

We’re on our way to our first workshop at the Estonian Church.  Beautiful day in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Thanks for this great opportunity to the US Department of State, US Embassy in Russia and Jazz at Lincoln Center…with genuine

gratitude, The Melvin Williams Group.

Andre says…he’s still sleepy and trying to get his energy up to give the kids from the orphanage a great day!!!

Castro’s awake now…ready to go hard in Russia…29 more days…

Melvin just going over his notes….

Bridget…I’m ready to jam the tambourine!!!!!!

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