By: David Wilcox firstname.lastname@example.org
The visage of Harriet Tubman herself will be watching over the fourth edition of the Auburn music festival in her name.
This year’s Harriet Tubman Freedom Music Festival, taking place Saturday, will move to the New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center on South Street. As always, though, the event will consist of an evening of live music and the presentation of the annual Harriet Tubman Freedom Awards. The festival is presented by the center, the city of Auburn, the New York Institute of Dance & Education, Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre and choreographer Sean McLeod, of Auburn, president of the latter two organizations and executive producer of the event.
After taking place at the State Street band shell its first two years, and the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park the year after that, the festival moved back downtown this year because its mission complements that of the new center, McLeod said. And not only can the festival help the center highlight the diversity and contributions of people of color in Auburn, he continued, but the center can provide the festival scenery that’s relevant and resonant. Both a bronze statue of Tubman and a tile mural of the abolitionist will be within sight of the festival stage Saturday. And on nearby Exchange Street, McLeod said, his great-great uncle, John H. Waire, worked with Tubman’s brother to open the first black business in the city, a barber shop.
“We’re helping the city (leadership) learn what it means to be inclusive,” he said. “We’re not an inclusive community yet, but we’re trying to get there.”
This year’s festival will once again feature McLeod performing his “Soundtrack for Harriet Tubman,” a selection of songs from a musical he wrote about her in the 1990s. However, Saturday’s performance will be the first under musical director Noah Kellman, a central New York native who went on to learn at New York University and the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music… FULL ARTICLE