Black History Month honored by talk and concert
Feb 20, 2014 | 3238 views | 0 0 comments | 120 120 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pianist Julia Bady and Irwin Reese warm up in Bady’s studio.
Pianist Julia Bady and Irwin Reese warm up in Bady’s studio.
GUILFORD- On Saturday, February 22, at 3 pm, Friends of Music at Guilford presents “Lucy Terry Prince and the Black Man in Song” at Guilford Community Church (snow date: February 23). Co-sponsored by Guilford Historical Society, this Black History Month event includes a talk by Linda Hecker on early Guilford resident Lucy Terry Prince (1730-1821) and a concert of works by African-American composers featuring tenor Irwin Reese and pianist Julia Bady.

African-born Lucy Terry grew up as a slave in the Ebenezer Wells household in Deerfield, MA. Considered the earliest African-American literary figure, she authored a poem about a 1746 Indian attack on Deerfield that was handed down orally for many years before its first publication. She married Abijah Prince, a free black man from nearby Northfield, and raised a large family on land they bought in Guilford. Her skills as an orator were legendary.

Hecker is a founder of Friends of Music, a violinist/violist for regional chamber ensembles and orchestras, and a widely traveled education specialist for Landmark College. She has been fascinated by Lucy Terry Prince since moving into the Princes’ Guilford neighborhood in the 1960s and will share an overview of her research into Lucy’s life.

“Irwin Reese and Julia Bady performed a superb intimate house concert for us a few years ago,” said Friends of Music administrator Joy Wallens-Penford. “The artistry and power of Irwin’s voice was beautifully balanced by Julia’s masterful playing and sensitivity as a collaborator. We’re excited to bring them and this special repertoire to the attention of a wider audience with this program.”

“The Black Man in Song” opens with “Three Dream Portraits” by Margaret Bonds and other art songs by William Grant Still, J. Rosamond Johnson, John W. Work Jr., and Camille Nickerson. The concert’s centerpiece is “The Letters” by Richard Pearson Thomas (b. 1957), the one living composer represented; commissioned by Reese in 2003, this four-part work was based on letters by noted African-American scientist, educator, and inventor George Washington Carver (1864-1943). The stirring final concert segment includes works in the style of traditional spirituals composed or arranged by James Miller, Virginia Lewis, Hall Johnson, and Edward Boatner.

Admission to “Lucy Terry Prince and The Black Man in Song” is $10 per person at the door and includes a Colonial-style tea reception. This event is presented with partial funding support by a Small and Inspiring grant from the Vermont Community Foundation.

Now in its 48th concert season, Friends of Music is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a special mission to promote the performance of music by classical and modern masters that deserves wider attention, as well as new compositions by regional composers.

For further information visit, email or call (802) 254-3600.
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