It is an exciting time to be a member of the Syracuse Opera family! After a long hiatus, we are back, with an exciting production for all our supporters!
The Syracuse Opera and WCNY will premiere ‘No Cowards in Our Band’ on July 3, a musical drama based on the life and work of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Created by Anthony Knight and Wayne Sanders, this musical drama highlights the history of how a young runaway slave (Frederick Douglass) became a great abolitionist and one of the most influential Americans in history. A great orator, Douglass’ own poignant words are set against the backdrop of beloved African American spirituals revealing his significance as a social reformer. Frederick Douglass appeared in Syracuse on multiple occasions, including an appearance in what is now Fayette Park, in which he drew 500 people through the depth and purpose of his message.
The WCNY broadcast features actor Masud Olufani, in the role of Frederick Douglass as well as a trio of principal vocal artists of international acclaim including Kearstin Piper Brown, soprano, Chauncey Packer, tenor, and Syracuse native Gregory Sheppard, bass. Also joining the cast is a Gospel Quartet of artists from Syracuse including Sonya Hines, Marcia Hagan, Sandra Dee Miller, and Rev. Phil Turner.
In addition to the WCNY-TV premier on July 3 at 8:30pm, a special in-person performance will be held at Historic Tucker Missionary Baptist Church on June 19th at 4pm. The cast for June 19th includes a return of Masud Olufani as Frederick Douglass, Music Director Wayne Sanders, and bass Gregory Sheppard. New guest artist soloists include Anthony Turner, baritone, Edward Washington, tenor, and Nia Drummond, soprano. We also welcome back the gospel quartet of Sonya Hines, Marcia Hagan, Sandra Dee Miller, and Rev. Phil Turner. The venue will be adhering to all COVID safety measures for seating. There is no charge for admission, but a reservation will be required to attend. Make a reservation at syracuseopera.org.
Make sure not to miss Linda Loomis’ features on the WCNY broadcast and the in-person performance at Tucker Baptist. Our latest blog post also has additional information, including profiles on the artists.
This collaborative presentation is funded by a grant from Empire State Development and supported by the Innovation Group of CNY Arts, LLC and the Empire State Development Film Office. The live performance is sponsored in part by The Syracuse Sounds of Music Association, Inc. and the Asbjorn Lunde Foundation, Inc.