Protest: The Vocal Abolitionists

18 Apr 2013

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00

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New Greenham Arts

England, United Kingdom

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Songs and readings presenting the life of the Hutchinson Family Singers who were the originators of American Protest singing. The Hutchinson family singers were a four part ensemble, three brothers and one sister (John, Judson, Asa and Abby), who were perhaps the most popular musical entertainers in America in the 1840's. They sang at the White House for President Tyler and were friends of Abraham Lincoln. One of their songs was proposed as a possible National Anthem. They performed a close four-part harmony style of singing, developed from the Austrian and English traditions and given a unique American sound. Their music ranged from sentimental ballads, to descriptive booster songs for their native New England, but most importantly they were the originators of the great tradition of American protest singing - epitomised by Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Passionate activists for the cause of emancipation and the abolition of slavery, they also campaigned for temperance and for women's rights. The Hutchinsons toured extensively in the USA and in 1845 they made a very successful year-long visit to Great Britain, appearing at rallies for supporters of the Abolitionist cause and in public concerts. In this brand new event, four singers explore the life and most importantly the music of The Hutchinsons. Part of our Protest (#newburyprotest) season of work. Protest is a month of exhibitions, talks, performances and debates exploring how protest inspires art, and how creativity inspires protest.

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