Ebenezer Baptist Church, 2001 Wylie Ave Pittsburgh PA 15219
This dramatic work, composed by award-winning, American composer Donald McCullough, interweaves 14 Negro Spirituals with a dramatic, historically-based script. The result is an experience audiences have called “visceral”, “spine-tingling,” and “deeply moving,” in premieres across the United States. We are honored to present this program at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.
This project, the first collaboration between these two venerable Pittsburgh institutions, seeks to be a compelling example of unity amidst the current climate of emboldened racism, and to invite the community to experience the powerful story of African Americans’ journey towards freedom that is an indelible part of our national and regional history. MCP and Ebenezer Baptist Church intend the spirituals through which this story is told to uplift and galvanize, just as they inspired and guided the enslaved on their courageous journey.
After its premiere at the Kennedy Center, Let My People Go! was featured at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of the museum’s inaugural activities. Audiences have described their experience as “moving,” “haunting,” “magnificent,” and “spine-tingling.”
Located in Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District, the 143-year-old Ebenezer Baptist Church serves a diverse congregation near the actual location of an Underground Railroad stop. The church itself was a primary meeting place for local civil rights activists in the wake of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination.
“We’re excited to collaborate with Ebenezer Baptist Church on this powerful piece,” says Matthew Mehaffey, MCP’s Robert Page Music Director. “This is a celebration of community both past and present.”
“We are humbled to have the opportunity to host the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and this important production. Ebenezer is a ‘Life Changing Church’ where Pastor and people work together to achieve our vision to reach the congregation, local community and beyond,” says Ebenezer’s Pastor, Dr. Vincent Campbell. “The presentation of Let My People Go! is in line with our vision, and we are proud to provide this venue so that many from all neighborhoods will be able to experience this highly acclaimed production. We welcome everyone to join us in sharing this extraordinary musical experience.”
In Let My People Go! the choir will perform along with four soloists and two actors. Leading the audience along the Underground Railroad through storytelling, the actors will illuminate the secret codes used by those who traversed the Railroad and explain the importance of the era’s songs. The Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (JMCP), a talented ensemble of high school-aged students, will open the show with works by contemporary African American composers that celebrate the power of the human spirit to persevere amidst adversity and to imagine a future full of hope. JMCP will also join the adult choir for the final song, a rousing rendition of “Go Down Moses.”
Ebenezer Baptist Church is located on the corners of Wylie Avenue, Devillers and Davenport Streets. Ample street parking surrounds the church. In addition to a large private parking lot and a smaller lot next to the building for patrons with handicap parking needs, free street parking is plentiful along Wylie and Devillers.
Funding for Let My People Go! has been generous provided by
McKinney Charitable Foundation of the PNC Charitable Trusts
A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust Fund of
The Pittsburgh Foundation
Eden Hall Foundation
Henry C. Frick Educational Fund of the Buhl Foundation
Purchase your tickets to Let My People Go! by Monday, January 7 and be entered to win free admission to the Heinz History Center and a personal tour of the From Slavery to Freedom exhibit!*
This award winning exhibition chronicles the African experience in America and the pursuit of freedom in Pittsburgh and beyond. We have partnered with the History Center to bring attention to this vast exhibit that provides amazing insights to our February program. It’s definitely a Pittsburgh must-see!
*Current ticket holders automatically entered.