On The Town: The Philadelphia Freedom Festival

This February, while celebrating Black History Month and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, don’t miss the Mann Center’s official launch of the “Philadelphia Freedom Festival”.

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts just announced this year’s seven-month endeavor which will commemorate the life of Octavius V. Catto — the legendary 19th century Philadelphian and African American civil rights pioneer and freedom fighter. Supported by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the Presser Foundation, with additional support from the Lomax Family Foundation, the program partners will include the Philadelphia Orchestra, the African American Museum of Philadelphia, Art Sanctuary, the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Curtis Institute of Music, History Making Productions, Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, Temple University Press, The Union League of Philadelphia, 900-AM WURD and with additional support from the Mayor’s Office of Faith Based Initiatives.

The Harlem Times will provide monthly coverage of this very important and inspirational series of events, which under the direction of producer Nolan Williams and Mann VP, Rhonda Blount will include “…participatory workshops, a master class with commissioned composer and Philadelphia native Uri Caine, an old fashioned spiritual revival with blended voices from the local church community, a spoken word performance, scholarly panel discussions, engaging youth performances, and a celebration honoring some of Philadelphia’s leading Africa American women.” The festival will culminate with a concert performance by Marvin Sapp on the main stage at the Mann, a 300 voice choir, and Caine’s original orchestral composition.

The first event, “Let Freedom Sing” will take place Feb. 22 at Mother Bethel A.M.E. from 2 – 4 p.m. Gospel choirs from across the city will join together to celebrate Catto’s 175th birthday with an all-Negro Spiritual Church Meeting.

For more information on the Mann’s Philadelphia Freedom Festival and the complete schedule of events please visit: www.manncenter.org/philadelphia-freedom-festival.


About the Mann

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts’ Education & Community Engagement Program is the region’s largest free education program, impacting more than 50,000 young people annually and more than 400,000 since 1997. The Mann’s Connecting Arts-N-Schools program offers city-wide schools a wide array of multicultural performances in music, theater and dance. This gives thousands of students the opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and rhythms of live performances – often for the very first time.

As one of the most important outdoor music centers in the country, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts presents top artists in a world-class, entertainment destination in association with AEG Live and Princeton Entertainment. Each summer season, renowned symphony orchestras, iconic rock stars and the latest touring artists in indie rock, hip hop, R&B and pop take the stage here, and today’s success is a nod to the venue’s storied history. The Mann has been the summer home of The Philadelphia Orchestra since the 1930s and presented critically acclaimed performers in every decade since then. Located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, the Mann hosts more than 170,000 visitors annually. Signature concert experiences are surrounded by Philadelphia’s stunning nighttime skyline and include seats beneath the Mann’s magnificent shed; picnics, blankets and music under the stars on its famous lawn; and dining in Crescendo, the venue’s spectacular tented restaurant. For more information, visit http://www.manncenter.org/philadelphia-freedom-festival.

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