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Composer Glenn McClure.  Photo: McClure Productions, Inc.
Composer Glenn McClure. Photo: McClure Productions, Inc.

Hearing historic voices of freedom, again, through song

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New music will be performed tonight and tomorrow in Saranac Lake and North Elba as part of the John Brown Day events. Voices of Timbuctoo is a new work based on the Adirondack settlement of Black farmers in the mid-1800's designed to secure voting rights. Abolitionist Gerrit Smith gave away 120,000 acres of his land, beginning in 1846, hoping the Adirondack wilderness would offer refuge to black families.

Voices of Timbuctoo, is an oratorio written by western New York composer Glenn McClure. It's part of what he calls a Musical Freedom Trail. Some of his other works written to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation have been performed in Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and later this month in Rochester.

McClure says his research for the oratorio included reading through diaries, letters and documents featuring the words of Gerrit Smith, John Brown, and the individuals who worked on the land that Smith had provided. McClure told Todd Moe that these texts illustrate hope and promise.

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