Bach Festival Society to Celebrate African American Culture

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Bach Festival Society of Winter Park is presenting a week of African American artistry to compliment the production of Sanctuary Road, taking place on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 18, at 3 p.m. in Knowles Memorial Chapel at Rollins College.

The event schedule is as follows:

Monday, Feb. 12, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.Welcome Reception and Introductory Program at Hannibal Square Heritage Center: The museum’s permanent collection will be on display with a gallery talk by Hannibal Square Chief Historian, Fairolyn Livingston. Authentic refreshments and live entertainment will be offered.

Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 1-4 p.m. – Reflections on how African American History and Traditions Inform Arts and Culture at Winter Park Events Center: The event will include a discussion on 21st century community activism, leadership and fellowship through arts and literature with panelists:

  • Dr. Eric Smaw, Special Assistant to the Provost, Professor, Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Rollins College
  • N.Y. Nathiri, Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community and Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts
  • Charmaine Hunter, Director of Community Enrichment, Orlando Ballet
  • Jai Radcliff, Co-Founder, Form2Fashion and co-author of “Black Influence: Rising Stars, History Makers, Risk Takers & Influential Icons in Fashion.”

Guests can also watch encore presentations of the following WUCF/PBS programs:

  • Now Hear This: “Florence Price and the American Migration”
  • Florida Frontiers: “The Highwaymen Artists”
  • New “Gospel” series from Henry Louis Gates

A special exhibit by Form 2 Fashion will be presented and light refreshments will be provided.

Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 5:30-7:00 pm – Dancers from the Orlando Ballet’s Youth Enrichment Programs at Rollins Museum of Art: The galleries at Rollins Museum of Art will host community students from Orlando Ballet. Specially choreographed dances will be preceded by a gallery talk featuring current exhibits.

Thursday, Feb. 15, from 5:30-7 p.m. – Exhibition of Highwaymen Art at The Walker Collection of Florida Self-Taught Art: Winter Park businessman Lance Walker, Jr. has assembled one of the largest known collections of paintings by The Highwaymen and artwork by Outsider Artists. Mr. Walker will open his gallery, located at 949 Pennsylvania Ave., and lead gallery talks with special guests. Light refreshments will be served.

Saturday, Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 18, at 3:00 p.m. – Moravec and Campbell’s Sanctuary Road in Knowles Memorial Chapel at Rollins College: The powerful oratorio is inspired by the memoirs of writer, historian, and philanthropist, William Still. The son of a former slave, Still risked his life to help enslaved people escape to freedom as a conductor for The Underground Railroad. Sanctuary Road was created by composer Paul Moravec and lyricist Mark Campbell. The work was nominated for the Grammy award for Best New Choral Work in 2021. The performance will feature the Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra, John V. Sinclair, conductor; Laquita Mitchell, soprano; Melody Wilson, mezzo soprano; Joshua Blue, tenor; Malcolm Merriweather, baritone; Dashon Burton, bass.

The performances will be preceded by special event with conductor Paul Moravec, who will share insights and answer questions in a half-hour discussion. The discussion will take place on Saturday, Feb. 17, from 6:30-7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 18, from 2-2:30 p.m. at Rollins College Keene Hall, Room 119.

Concert tickets are available at and the cultural experiences are free to the public, but event registration (also available on the Bach Festival website) is recommended. For more information, please call 407-646-2182.

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