The Opening and Closing Ceremonies of The World Games 2022 will feature original music from one of Alabama’s most accomplished and decorated composers.
The Birmingham Organizing Committee yesterday announced that Henry Panion III, Ph.D., has joined The World Games 2022 as Artistic Director of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, to be held 7 and 17 July 2022. Dr. Panion holds the titles of University Professor of Music and Director of Music Technology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he teaches courses in music theory and technology. He’s also the owner of Audiostate 55 Recording Studios & Entertainment Company.
In his role with The Games, Panion will create the entire musical score for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, write and produce all the original music that will be featured, conduct the orchestra performing the music, and collaborate with all major recording artists that will participate in the Ceremonies.
Additionally, he will write and produce an original The World Games 2022 theme song.
Throughout his illustrious composing career, Panion has worked closely with several major recording artists, including Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Carrie Underwood and more.
Panion’s work has garnered him two Grammy Awards, two Dove Awards and several additional recognitions. He was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Alabama A&M University Hall of Fame in 2000. In 2009, Panion was appointed Cultural Ambassador for the City of Birmingham.
After graduating from Alabama A&M University with a degree in Music Education, Panion received his master’s and doctorate degrees in Music Theory from the Ohio State University.
The Alabama native said he couldn’t be more excited to be playing a role in the production of The Games.
"I am honored to serve as Artistic Director of The World Games 2022 Opening and Closing Ceremonies," Panion said. "The World Games will bring a once-in-a-lifetime level of focus and attention to Birmingham and Alabama. It is our goal to showcase and celebrate the very best of Alabama in presentations that are both festive and reflective, commemorating our past yet articulating the hope of our future."
Produced by LRY Media Group, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies 2022 will be hosted at Birmingham’s new, $180 million Protective Stadium. Rashada LeRoy, CEO of LRY Media Group, said she’s thrilled to see what Panion contributes to The Games.
"Dr. Panion's insight and understanding of both music and creativity bring about extraordinary shows and truly magical moments," LeRoy said. "After watching and enjoying Dr. Panion’s work for so many years, I look forward to all there is to come."
The World Games 2022 CEO Nick Sellers said Panion’s musical ability combined with his Birmingham background is a hugely important addition to the production of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
"We are excited to see what Dr. Panion is going to create for The World Games 2022," Sellers said. "Not only is he a tremendous talent, but he’s Alabama to his roots, and that was huge for us. These Opening and Closing Ceremonies are going to represent the best that Alabama and Birmingham have to offer, and Dr. Panion absolutely fits that description. His talents will offer a gift of music that will live on long after the lights go down and The Games conclude."
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in The World Games.
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