Com­ing up in Philly Music: Lyric Fest hosts ‘#SayTheir­Names’

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'#SayTheirNames' was postponed in the fall and is now getting a release from Lyric Fest. (Image courtesy of Lyric Fest.)
'#SayTheirNames' was postponed in the fall and is now getting a release from Lyric Fest. (Image courtesy of Lyric Fest.)

Lyric Fest is set to premiere a new video of one of its concerts this weekend. #SayTheirNames highlights the women who played frontline roles in four movements for social change. Rising young soprano Karen Slack has created a program of songs and readings that “says the names” of women who fought for emancipation, anti-lynching, civil rights, and the #SayHerName movement.

Composing for social change

Lyric Fest has brought together five talented women: The visuals for the movie were created by Philadelphia artist Lavett Ballard, who adds a historical context to her depictions of people of African descent. The premiere on the program is a poem by Shana Oshiro, “Taking Names,” set to music by composer Jasmine Barnes, who is currently the head of compositional studies at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. Karen Slack’s songs and readings will be supported by Lyric Fest pianist Laura Ward, who recently accompanied Denyce Graves at the memorial service for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Following the release of the performance, Lyric Fest is hosting a launch party on Sunday, January 17, on Zoom. Slack, Barnes, and Oshiro will be in attendance for a discussion and Q&A. Storyteller and narrator Charlotte Blake Alston will also participate in the conversation.

What, When, Where, and Accessibility:

Lyric Fest will release #SayTheirNames on Saturday, January 9, at 7:30pm on the Lyric Fest website. The launch party will take place Sunday, January 17, at 3pm on Zoom. Register for the launch party online.

The video will be available on-demand after its premiere. The video and the launch party are free.

Image Description: A mural-like image depicts various Black women activist figures, cut-outs collaged against a wooden wall canvas.

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