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Rochester Oratorio Society to Commemorate Life of Frederick Douglass

By Staff


Frederick-Douglass-at-200-452x400The Rochester Oratorio Society (ROS) will host a bicentennial commemoration of the life of Frederick Douglass through readings, re-enactment and music, Friday, Feb. 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N. Plymouth Ave.

Catherine Cerulli, executive director of the University of Rochester Susan B. Anthony Center, and Rochester Historical Society historian Dan Cody will collaborate in a pre-concert chat and exhibit beginning at 7 p.m.

Subsequently, renowned Douglass re-enactor and Nazareth College faculty member Dr. David Anderson will offer renditions of some of Douglass’s most revered writings between sections from American composer Kirke Mechem’s settings, entitled “Songs of the Slave,” from his opera, John Brown.

As the featured work of the program, ROS will perform “The Emancipation Oratorio,” by world-renowned Geneseo composer, Glenn McClure, which the society commissioned and premiered in 2013. The piece will combine texts by Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Frances Harper, and contemporary slave narratives in music employing Western instruments, African percussion and Western New York folk instruments, recreating the three poles of the Atlantic Slave Trade Triangle.

Internationally-renowned soprano and Rochester resident Kearstin Piper Brown, and baritone Jonathan Rhodes, the William Warfield Scholarship recipient at the Eastman School of Music, will sing the solo roles.

Rochester East High School Choir will joins ROS to close the program with the Gospel tune, “Lord I’m free,” by New York composer, Steve Dobrogosz.

Tickets for the event will be $25 for the general public, and $10 for students with ID.

The project has been sponsored by a Humanities New York Action Grant.

Contact ROS at (585) 473-2234, or visit, for additional information regarding the event.

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