Mann Center’s “Liberty Unplugged” festival, tuning in to social justice and Baltimore

Posted on: May 6, 2015

In Tuesday’s (5/5) Philadelphia Inquirer, Peter Dobrin writes that at Saturday’s concert presented by the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Mother Bethel AME Church, “Baltimore and social justice were on everyone’s lips…. It was the kickoff of the Mann’s Liberty Unplugged! festival, the music center’s months-long focus on Frederick Douglass, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela…. WURD-AM (900) personality Nick Taliaferro was master of ceremonies, and Mark K. Tyler, pastor of Mother Bethel, was host of the event, dubbed Three Men, Three Movements…. Play On, Philly!, the West Philadelphia after-school music program, brought a newly commissioned piece … Hallelujahs of the Free by David Carpenter [who] scored his work for chamber orchestra and texts by Douglass, including ‘What to the American slave is your Fourth of July…’  The afternoon’s ‘three movements’ … each explored a theme—freedom from slavery, human rights, and voting rights. But there was also a surprise: a pop-up concert-within-a-concert. First, a lone audience member stood and sang, then another joined her, until there was an entire chorus repeating the eight-bar refrain: ‘We who believe in freedom will not rest until it comes.’ From the foot-stomping, applause, and cheers it drew, you might have thought freedom, indeed, had.”

Posted May 6, 2015