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Chorale and Emerson Theater mark Civil War anniversary

 Twelve Granby area residents will perform with the Farmington Valley Chorale, Ellen Gilson Voth, artistic director, in Farmington Valley’s Freedom Trail: A Choral Tribute, on May 1 and May 3. For this exciting event, the chorale will partner with the Emerson Theater Collaborative of Mystic, to mark the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War. The program will feature Harriet2 (Harriet Squared), two one-act plays about Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe, with settings of Civil War era music and spirituals, helping to bring the history of this era to life. Performances will take place on Friday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. at First Church of Christ, 689 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury, and May 3 at 3 p.m. at First Church of Christ Congregational, 75 Main Street, Farmington.

Harriet2 explores the lives of two very different women, one black and one white, united in a common cause—ending slavery. Harriet Tubman, born a slave, carried out 13 missions to rescue more than 70 slaves with the help of the Underground Railroad, and helped another 60 to plan and carry out their own escapes. Connecticut-born Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, depicted life under slavery and, in the 1850s, brought the political issue of slavery into focus for millions around the world.

In Lisa Giordano’s play, Harriet Tubman’s Dream, Camilla Ross portrays abolitionist Tubman, while Emma Palzere-Rae takes the role of Harriet Beecher Stowe in Aunt Hattie’s House, which she authored. All three artists are founders of the Emerson Theater Collaborative (ETC), one of the first professional theaters in southeastern Connecticut.

Ross is current president of ETC and a graduate of Emerson College in Boston. She has over 30 years’ theatrical experience, ranging from commercials to regional theater. She recently directed the play Hour Farther, by David H. Greer. In 2013, she was named Woman of the Year by SECT Women’s Network for her contributions to business and community. She is on the faculty of Three Rivers Community College and a member of Kappa Beta Delta.

Giordano is a playwright, artist and ETC’s resident playwright. She is a member of the Dramatist Guild, and her plays have been performed regionally and have received honors nationally. Harriet Tubman’s Dream has been repeatedly performed by ETC’s Ross. Her paintings have been exhibited in venues throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Palzere-Rae has appeared in regional, stock and off-Broadway theater, as well as film, television and radio. She has been portraying Harriet Beecher Stowe for the last 15 years across the country. She founded Be Well Productions in 1989, and tours critically acclaimed one-woman plays. Palzere-Rae serves as the Director of Development and Communications for Safe Futures.

Granby area residents who will perform with the chorale include: Linda Harrold of East Granby; Teri Baber, Peter Barwick, Carolyn Flint, John Flint, Helen Hogan, Elaine Lydon and Debbie Seigel of Granby; Judith Burhans, Dan Dickey and Kenneth Way of North Granby; and Carol Bressor of West Granby.

Tickets are $15 and free for full-time students. For more information and tickets visit farmingtonvalleychorale.org.


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