Philadelphia Alumnae Hosts Singing Freedom Part II

Submitted by C. Gloria Akers

THE PINE FORGE ACADEMY HONORS CHOIR performing an interdisciplinary song cycle and choral work by Joel Thompson, drawing on the Spiritual tradition, as well as the Freedom on the Move database.

The world-renowned Pine Forge Academy Choir is a group of vocally diverse, talented, and dedicated youth.  The choir is noted for its full, rich, and powerful harmonious quality as heard through its spirituals, gospels, anthems, and classical repertoire. The choir’s director is Jarrett Roseborough.

For an astonishing second night, Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter members, in promoting Singing Freedom Parts I & II, return to the Perelman Theater to greet family and friends supporting an astounding group of students, who form The Pine Forge Academy Honors Choir. This choir, nominated for a 2023 NAACP Image Award for a film, “THIS IS MY BLACK,” took the audience on an astounding musical ride through musical genres with ease and talent equal to any choir of any age.

As part of Singing Freedom II’s program – “Three Dialogues” is an exploration of three dialogues and three perspectives from three Black poets who internalize the state of freedom.  Frances Ellen Watkins Harper pleads to not be buried “in a land of slaves.” Paul Lawrence Dunbar, whose parents were emancipated slaves, expresses reverence towards heroes: “they the soil who’ve trod, not they who soar.” Langston Hughes offers blessings to the young and future generations, encouraging us to “beat with bare brown fists and wait” for freedom. Mason Bynes, a Boston-based composer, and multimedia artist, accompanied by The Pine Forge Academy Choir, presented these three dialogues in spoken word and music that expressed a promise to the departed, an ode to our heroes and an offering for the future.

During the third part of the Monday night program, Pine Forge Academy Honors Choir gave the audience a taste of their tremendous repertoire which included the African Mistune Mungu to songs familiar to the audience – Elijah Rock, There is a Fountain, Consider it Done to Balm in Gilead – all sung with choir members expressing them in a myriad number of ways – for example signed language, dance or in Be Bob and hip hop.

At Pine Forge Academy, Excellence is no Accident. It is a historically African-American co-educational Seventh Day Adventist boarding Academy serving grades nine through twelve in Pine Forge, Pennsylvania.  The beautiful campus resides on the historical property once owned by Thomas Rutter, an abolitionist iron miller, deeded to him by William Penn in the early 1700s.  Pine Forge Academy opened its doors on Sept. 9, 1946, with 90 pioneer students.

Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter’s support of Singing Freedom exemplifies Delta’s committed advocacy and advancement of those creative and performing works of art created by African Americans

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