The North End Music and Performing Arts Center will host a virtual event in honor of Juneteenth.
On June 19, NEMPAC will be broadcasting a virtual streaming of “Juneteenth: Opera in the Key of Freedom,” at 12:30 p.m. The concert will feature classical and jazz soundscapes by William Grant Still, Scott Joplin, and the Chevalier de Saint-Georges. There will also be a world premiere of Mason Bynes’ “If Singing is Free,” commissioned to commemorate the life of Elijah McClain and others tragically lost due to police brutality. The event is a celebration of Juneteenth, when the Emancipation Proclamation was read in 1865 in Texas, marking the end of slavery.
“Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to the last group of enslaved peoples in Texas, marking a full end to slavery in the United States,” said Alexandra Dietrich, artistic director of NEMPAC Opera, on NEMPAC’s website. “As a Puerto Rican American who grew up in Maine, my knowledge of Juneteenth was lacking until a few years ago. The more I read about the holiday and the history as an adult, the more I understood how narrow the narrative I had been taught in school truly was. Juneteenth: Opera in the Key of Freedom aims to play a part in undoing this narrow narrative by 1) fostering an understanding that slavery didn’t end with the Emancipation Proclamation or the Civil War and 2) underscoring how many more complexities there are to healing the lasting effects of the violent trauma of slavery in America’s history.”
Reserve a complimentary ticket here.
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.