April 16, 2022 | Alliance for New Music-Theatre
The Black Georgetown Cemeteries Project
Composer:Ronald "Trey" Walton
Librettist:Jarrod Lee
Alliance for New Music-Theatre has responded to the invitation and joined with Mt Zion Church, Dumbarton United Methodist Church, and Mt. Zion - Female Union Band Society Historic Memorial Park, Inc. to develop an original work of music-theatre, bringing to light some of the complex and little known history of Black Georgetown through stories of the “residents” of the co-joined cemeteries (Mt Zion and Female Union Band Society.) The process of engaging in the research offers our community the opportunity for excavating more of “the whole story” of our city:  the particulars of urban slavery; the complex relationships of Black and White dwellers who lived, worked, and worshipped together; the Female Union Band Society, an African-American benevolent organization, and its lesser known but critical role in DC’s Underground Railroad network; and the significance of Black community leaders such as Clement Beckett and Charles Turner. We have invited from Georgetown University student archivists, orchestra members, and key leaders of the reckoning and reconciliation work at GU as well as community members of the two Methodist churches to join our assembled cast of professionals including composer (Ronald Walton), librettist (Jarrod Lee) in the artistic “excavation” to honor this sacred ground. The conjoined Black Cemeteries were designated a UNESCO site of memory associated with the Slave Route Project in 2018.

The Black Georgetown Cemetery Project site-specific performance series will premiere as part of DC Emancipation Day’s 160th anniversary, on April 16, 2022, and shortly thereafter will help celebrate the Sestercentennial (250th Anniversary) of Dumbarton United Methodist Church, once united with the Mt Zion United Methodist Church, and Mount Zion’s own anniversary when it split off from Old Methodist, the ‘mother church,’ to form its own church. The coming together for these performances is symbolic of the needed reckoning and reconciliation work in the District of Columbia and across this nation.

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