Celebrate Black Founders with a Musical Experience Presented by The Jeremy Winston Chorale, May 12April 18, 2023
Admission Includes Access to Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia Special Exhibition
Concert Will Be Held Live in Liberty Hall and Livestreamed Online
Join the Museum of the American Revolution for a live musical experience on Friday, May 12, 2023, at 6:30 p.m., presented by The Jeremy Winston Chorale and inspired by the Museum’s special exhibition, Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia. Featuring more than 20 Chorale members and led by composer and artistic director Jeremy Winston, the concert will celebrate the life of free Black Philadelphian James Forten and explore Philadelphia’s rich musical history through storytelling and song.
The evening will include the world premiere of a new Black Founders-inspired choral work composed by Winston, titled “Man of Colour,” as well as a showcase of both secular and religious music written by renowned African American composers from the American abolitionist movement through the early 20th century. The program also will feature songs by composer Francis “Frank” Johnson, James Forten’s famous contemporary, including “The Grave of a Slave,” which sets music to poetry written by Forten’s daughter, Sarah L. Forten.
Francis Johnson gave Philadelphia its rhythm in the early 1800s. Born in 1792, Johnson became well-known throughout the city as a talented fiddle player and was often invited to perform for both Black and white audiences alike. In 1818, Johnson became the first Black composer to have his work published as sheet music.
A selection of Johnson’s music is featured in our special exhibition, Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, as Johnson was a friend and neighbor of the Fortens. At a listening station in the exhibit, guests can hear historically informed renditions of Johnson’s compositions, including a performance by The Jeremy Winston Chorale’s Candace Nicole Potts. Using instruments from the early 1800s, these recordings replicate what Johnson’s music might have sounded like in the streets, concert halls, and homes of Philadelphia during his lifetime.
Onsite tickets include day-of pre-event access to Black Founders from 11 a.m. – 6:15 p.m. and access to a cash bar prior to the event. The concert also will be livestreamed via Zoom, without intermission, from 6:30 – 8 p.m. Onsite tickets include Zoom access and are $30 for general admission or $25 for Museum Members. Online tickets are $15 for general admission or $10 for Museum Members. Tickets can be purchased here.
This program was made possible by Carole Haas Gravagno and The Pennsylvania Abolition Society.
About The Jeremy Winston Chorale
The Jeremy Winston Chorale International was founded in 2012 by prolific musician Jeremy Winston. Comprised of vocal powerhouses and hidden gems from across America, this outstanding ensemble has made an indelible mark in the music community as one of the nation’s foremost ambassadors of professional choral music. A true example of musical exceptionalism, the Chorale is adept at performing all genres of music — including the classics of the masters, the negro spirituals, gospel, and popular music — with commanding accuracy and musicianship. The Chorale released its critically acclaimed debut album Black Church in July 2022, hailed by many as a masterpiece celebrating the artistic ingenuity and contribution of the American Black Church. It is currently available to stream on all popular platforms. For the latest news and information about upcoming performances, visit www.jeremywinstonchorale.com.
About Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia
The Museum of the American Revolution’s groundbreaking special exhibition, Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, brings together – for the first time – more than 100 historical artifacts to tell the inspiring story of free Black Philadelphian James Forten and his remarkable family, from the Revolutionary era through the Civil War and Reconstruction. Black Founders explores the Forten family’s roles in the Revolutionary War, business in Philadelphia, and the abolitionist movement from 1776 to 1876, including their roles in helping to start both the American Anti-Slavery Society and the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. The exhibition runs until Nov. 26, 2023, and is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Black Founders is included with regular Museum admission.
About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution uncovers and shares compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s ongoing experiment in liberty, equality, and self-government. Through the Museum’s unmatched collection, immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive elements, visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in ensuring that the promise of the American Revolution endures. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776.