Too Hot to Handel Engagement Opportunities

With the Auditorium Theatre’s Too Hot Engagement opportunities, students explore the music of Too Hot to Handel, Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision of “beloved community” and the importance of contributing their voice and talent to building community. All of our Too Hot to Handel residencies connect to our one-hour student matinee on January 18, 2019 @ 11AM.

**To apply for one of our Too Hot to Handel residencies, please fill out a teacher application.

Click here for more information about tickets to the show!

Too Hot to Handel Five-Class Music Residency

FREE to CPS schools while space is available!
For non-CPS schools (or once slots are filled): $900/Classroom + Student Matinee Tickets ($10/ticket)

Explore the music of Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah and its connection to Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision of “beloved community.” By working as a classroom community to create a unique music composition, students are challenged to make active choices as an ensemble and as individuals that change the “sounds” of their own communities.

Too Hot to Handel Five-Class Poetry Residency

FREE to CPS schools while space is available!
For non-CPS schools (or once slots are filled): $800/Classroom + Student Matinee Tickets ($10/ticket)

Explore the ways that Dr. Martin Luther King and the text of Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah use words to create an emotional impact. Students discover how their individual language choices can be used to create “sounds of non-violence” and affect positive change. Over the course of five, one-hour residency classes students work to create and then perform poems based on their knowledge of Dr. King, Too Hot to Handel, and their experience within their own communities. Residencies end in a spoken word performance of all students’ poems.

Too Hot to Handel Poetry Contest | FREE!

Submission Deadline: December 14, 2018

For submission information, and this year’s prompt, email “POETRY CONTEST” with your name and contact information to

The Auditorium Theatre’s annual Too Hot Poetry Contest is back! Winners’ poems will be published in the Too Hot to Handel performance programs, with each winner receiving 4 tickets to a performance of Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah and the chance to perform their poetry from our historic landmark stage.

Over 100 Chicagoans participated in our Too Hot  Poetry Contest in 2018! Check out the winning poems below.

These Are the Sounds of My Community

Poet: Giselle Alencastro
Galileo Scholastic Academy

I hear the wind
Taking the leaves in different directions
I hear dogs
Barking, wanting to take ownership of the whole town
I hear youngins
Enjoying life and living for now
I hear vehicles
Coming home to unexpected memories that await them
I hear sirens
And how they take people away, Oh how I hope they’re safe
I hear planes
Taking people places they’d thought they’d never reach

These Are the Sounds of My Neighborhood

Poet: Anmarie Jones
Galileo Scholastic Academy

My neighborhood is loud, with not good sounds,
Everyday I go out hoping I’m safe,
Hoping I won’t have to submit my death time and date.
My neighborhood is fun during the day,
But when we hear shots we have nothing to say.
When I was little I heard those sounds; Hoping it was a dream from a terrible town.
We all say black lives matter; But all the lives matter even the Sox batter.
Police are trying to keep us safe,
But I think some of them are using us as bait,
We are bait to find the person who was behind the gun,
But the person is still on the run.
These are the sounds of my community,
We need to work together to build a strong unity.

Dreaming of a King Community

Poet: Jimia Payton
Spencer Academy

These are the sounds I hear around the Austin community.
I want Peace in my community, just like Dr. Martin Luther King.
I hear the birds chirping. I hear the wind blowing, “Swish, Swish, Swish.”
I see the leaves flowing “Swish, Swish, Swish.”
As the cars are passing by,
the sounds of their motors are “room rooming” while they are zoom zooming.
They are driving fast of course,
while people are cutting grass hoping that this wonderful sight will last…

The gunshots that I hear are music to my ears,
but doesn’t bring them cheers – just brings them fears,
just like when Dr. Martin Luther King was around.
We want Peace just like King wanted.
Will King’s Dream come alive in 2025?
All I hear is Abandonment, Desolate, Neglect, Reject, Forsaken, Emptiness.
King’s vision of Peace is my Hope for my community.
“Birds Chirping.” “Kids Playing Together.”
Will King’s Dream Come Alive in 2025?
“Chirp, Zoom, Room, Swish, Splash…Wow.”

These are the (new) sounds of my community!

For more information about these opportunities, contact our Creative Engagement team at 312.341.2359 or

Thank you to our Too Hot Educational Outreach Sponsor: