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Harriet Tubman Centennial celebration wraps up with a special free concert by the RPO, 10/29 @ 2pm

Tyler Cervini

Saturday, October 29, 2022 from 2 – 3 PM at Church of Love Faith Center (700 Exchange St., 14608)

Your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO)will close out Monroe County and the City of Rochester’s Harriet Tubman Bicentennial Celebration (HTBC) with a special Closing HTBC Ceremony on Saturday, October 29, 2022 from 2 – 3 PM at Church of Love Faith Center (700 Exchange St., 14608). The event is free and open to the public.

RPO trumpeter and frequent guest conductor Herb Smith will lead the orchestra in a celebratory program that features the Center for Youth’s Strings for Success, a free, inclusive, and innovative instrumental strings program available to all students in grades 2-8 at the Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School 19 in the Rochester City School District.

Herb Smith, who helped organize the concert, found orchestra parts for several Strings for Success’ pieces, and Rochester musician and teacher John Gabriele arranged some of Tubman’s favorite Spirituals for the group: Songs from the Underground Railroad: A Harriet Tubman Celebration. Smith also programmed the second movement of Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World, which – since lyrics were added – has become a staple called Goin’ Home in Black churches.

The program opens with Aaron Copland’s iconic Fanfare for the Common Man, a piece that Smith conducted during Rochester’s 2020 Black Lives Matter rally. It continues with a trio of waltzes by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, called the “Black Mahler,” and closes with Fantasia On Lift Every Voice and Sing by James V. Cockerham, which was performed by the Gateways Music Festival Orchestra at its Carnegie Hall debut in April of this year.

2019 Wofford Sculpture Studio, LLC

The special concert caps off two months of events that have surrounded the temporary installation of the Harriet Tubman – The Journey to Freedom statue at Rochester’s Washington Square Park on September 2, 2022. The nine-foot tall, 2,200-pound monument is traveling to various communities across the nation in honor of the 200th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s birth. It was sculpted by Oscar and Emmy-winning artist Wesley Wofford and features Harriet Tubman in mid stride, hustling towards freedom with a youngster in tow.

Learn more about the life and works of abolitionist Harriet Tubman in the PBS Documentary Harriet Tubham: Visions of Freedom,available on PBS Passport.