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Juneteenth opera lifts musicians that have been historically overlooked – Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri 2021-06-29 19:39:38 –

Boston, Massachusetts — Fred VanNess is the North End Music and Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC) In Boston.

“It’s changing, so to speak, and we’ll see more equality on stage,” Vannes said.

NEMPAC is a non-profit organization that provides accessible and affordable music education. Alexandra Dietrich is artistic director.

“For our 10th Season, we just ran “Juneteenth: Opera that holds the key to freedom, “Dietrich said. “It was a collection of concerts and works from four different black composers than dating back to 1750.”

Dietrich says he came up with the idea after June 16th last year was recognized as a Massachusetts holiday.

Well, it’s a national holiday.

Annette Gordon Reed An American historian and professor at Harvard University, Karl M. Loeb University.

“June 19th commemorates June 19ththIn 1865, after the Confederates finally surrendered, US Army general Gordon Granger came to Galveston, Texas to take over the Texas region for the Union Army, “Gordon Reed said.

Gordon Reid says Juneteenth is commemorating the liberation of those who were enslaved in the United States.

“It’s important for us to think about slavery and the legacy of slavery that continues to influence our lives today,” Gordon Reid said.

Dietrich says it’s time for black composers, musicians and artists to be recognized in the United States

“It’s the kind of work I want to deliver to the audience. It emphasizes those with a passionate message, American poetry, and American composition, but always how much of a black composer’s living experience. Focusing on what you know. The black community has fought in parallel with the battle for freedom in American history and how often community commitments are estranged and uncentered. It was. “

Vannes says he jumped at the opportunity to attend a Juneteenth opera performance.

“I started singing in the programs of the majority of black singers. It doesn’t happen very often so I had to rehearse with them and play with them on stage. It was very exciting. Being in an artistic space with people in my community who have the same life experience as me. “

Virtual performance was filmed by Loop lab -BIPOC-led non-profit organization specializing in media art internships and digital storytelling. Dietrich says music has long been a symbol of freedom.

“Singing is one of the few things historically enslaved in our country can do, not just passing messages through songs to help each other in a potential escape to the north to freedom. It was, “said Dietrich. , To instill the message of mankind, to maintain mankind when treated very horribly. “

The building where this performance was held has a sense of liberation linked to its history.

“Massachusetts was one of the first places we could trace that slavery was practiced and traded, but it was also the first city to call on those who opposed slavery,” Dietrich said. .. The African meetinghouse, and the African meetinghouse, is where we filmed our concerts. “

VanNess says he’s excited to see people pay more attention to lesser-known works.

He believes it is partly due to the current US social justice movement.

“I hope this allows other opera companies and other local organizations to do the same, to hear our voice and to let us know. Black composer, indigenous composer. Because there is a lot of home, Latin music, an Asian composer who is not done because it is not part of the European Mozart, Beethoven and Puccini operas, “Vannes said.

For Juneteenth, he says he’s excited to see it become a holiday for memory, celebration, and education across the United States.

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