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The Jeremy Winston Chorale performs at the Museum of the American Revolution.

The Jeremy Winston Chorale joined the Museum on May 12, 2023, to present a concert inspired by the world of our special exhibition, Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia. The performance included the world premiere of "Man of Colour," a new choral work by composer and artistic director Jeremy Winston in honor of the exhibition. Sharon Coleman from Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church introduced the premiere and its historical context for James Forten’s Philadelphia.

Featuring nearly two dozen Chorale members, the concert celebrated the inspiring story of free Black Philadelphian James Forten and explore Philadelphia’s rich music history and its global connections. With storytelling and instrumental accompaniment, the concert included choral works composed by Forten’s famous contemporary, Francis “Frank” Johnson, including “The Grave of a Slave,” which sets poetry by Forten’s daughter, Sarah L. Forten, to music.

This program was made possible by Carole Haas Gravagno and The Pennsylvania Abolition Society.

Setlist

  • Amazing Grace - Traditional
  • Steal Away - Traditional
  • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - Traditional
  • The Grave of the Slave - Francis Johnson
  • O Turn Thy Mournful Eyes - Francis Johnson
  • American Girl - Francis Johnson
  • Man of Colour - Jeremy Winston (world premiere)
  • Lift Every Voice and Sing - Roland Carter
  • In Bright Mansions Above - Roland Carter
  • I’m Gonna Sing ‘Til the Spirit Moves in My Heart - Moses Hogan
  • The Battle of Jericho - Moses Hogan
  • Total Praise - Richard Smallwood
  • Oh Happy Day

Man of Colour

Man of Colour was written by Jeremy Winston from the words of James Forten (1766-1842) and his daughter, Sarah L. Forten (1814-1884), and inspired by the music of Francis “Frank” Johnson (1792-1844). The piece was commissioned by the Museum with support from Carole Haas Gravagno and The Pennsylvania Abolition Society.


Performers

Soprano
Ja’Nel Ishmel, Arlecia Smith, Jacqueline Smith, Amanda Stollings, Amber Zanders

Alto
Anne Bragg, Shyanne Clark, Crystal Freeman, Natalie Gilliam, Candace Potts, Taylor Young

Tenor
Kenneth Alston, P. Nathaniel Boe, Jr., Lavonte Heard, Audi Johnson, Adrian Lewis

Bass
Clarence Bell, Larry Boggs, Jonathon Cummings, Antonio Hammett, Jordan Shores

Dr. Lloyd Mallory, Accompanist

About The Jeremy Winston Chorale

Jeremy Winston Chorale International

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’s inaugural performance at the World Choir Games, the world’s largest choral competition, earned them a gold medal for Best Gospel Choir and silver medals for Mixed Chorus (Classical Music) and Spirituals. Since then, the Chorale has performed innumerable times across the U.S., including for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at The White House in 2012 and 2015. In 2019, The Chorale presented a Black history concert at the home of the U.S. Ambassador to Colombia in Bogota, Colombia, where they were greeted with a warm message from Colombia’s president. Then, in 2015, The Chorale embarked on its first international tour, with dates across Germany, France, and Czech Republic. The tour was received with overwhelming enthusiasm by concertgoers and critics alike.

The Chorale is constantly supporting and amplifying its members’ careers by connecting them with world-class musical organizations, like the award-winning Medellin Symphonic Orchestra and the Czech National Symphony Jazz Ensemble, whom the Chorale collaborates with frequently. Additionally, the Chorale sponsors a scholarship for students studying music at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Most recently, in July 2022, the Chorale released its critically-acclaimed debut album Black Church, 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. Visit the website for the latest news and information about upcoming performances.

Learn More

A father holds his child as they look at the Forten family tree in the Museum's Black Founders exhibit.
 

Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia

February 11 - November 26, 2023
Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia explored the story of James Forten and his descendants as they navigated the American Revolution and cross-racial relationships in Philadelphia to later become leaders in the abolition movement in the lead-up to the Civil War.
Explore Exhibit
Silhouettes of Francis Johnson and his wife Helen  courtesy of The Met.
courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

The Music of Francis Johnson: A Soundtrack to Antebellum Black Philadelphia

Learn more about and listen to music written by Black composer and musician Francis Johnson, whose music was popular in the Revolutionary and Antebellum eras.
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Meet James Forten cover image featuring actor Nathan Alford-Tate.
 

"Meet James Forten" Performance

Watch the Museum's first-person theatrical performance about James Forten’s early life, written by local playwright Marissa Kennedy and performed by actor Nathan Alford-Tate.
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