(June 8, 2022, Raleigh, NC) The North Carolina Symphony (NCS) proudly announces its Juneteenth Freedom Celebration, to be held as part of the UNC Health Summerfest series next Saturday, June 18 at 8pm at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary. The evening’s program features the world premiere of a new commission from NCS Composer in Residence, Dr. Anthony Kelley, entitled Spirituals of Liberation.

The North Carolina Symphony Juneteenth program celebrates the many facets of American musical culture that have been created and influenced by African Americans, from the spirituals of enslaved Africans to Ragtime, Jazz, and Classical Music, all while telling the story of liberation. In addition to Kelley’s work, the program includes pieces by William Grant Still and Florence Price and arrangements that celebrate the contributions of jazz greats Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Guest soloists will join the orchestra to perform the spiritual “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

The Juneteenth Freedom Celebration is presented in partnership with the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, and is supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Triangle Community Foundation. The NCS Summerfest series is presented by UNC Health and sponsored by First Citizens Bank.

Following the performance at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, this program will travel the state as a part of Concerts in Your Community sponsored by UNC Health and supported by BlueCross BlueShield of NC. These concerts will take place at Southern Village in Chapel Hill on June 21, supported by Market Street Association, Southern Village HOA, and Strowd Roses; at Tryon Palace in New Bern on June 23, sponsored by CarolinaEast Health System; and at the Town Common in Tarboro on June 24, sponsored by Anonymous Trust/Simple Gifts Fund. A selection from Kelley’s Spirituals of Liberation will be part of the NCS’s Education Program repertoire for the 2022/23 academic year.


About the North Carolina Symphony

Founded in 1932, the North Carolina Symphony (NCS) is a vital and honored component of North Carolina’s cultural life. Each year, more than 300 concerts, education programs, and community engagement offerings reach adults and schoolchildren in all 100 North Carolina counties—in communities large and small, and in concert halls, auditoriums, gymnasiums, restaurants, clubs, and outdoor settings. The NCS is proud to expand access to audiences around the globe through concerts and educational offerings available through the digital space.

NCS’s state headquarters venue is the spectacular Meymandi Concert Hall at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. The Symphony’s service across the state includes series in Chapel Hill, Wilmington, New Bern, Southern Pines, and Fayetteville, as well as the Summerfest series at its summer home, the outdoor Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary. NCS brings some of the world’s greatest talents to North Carolina and embraces home-state artists from classical musicians to bluegrass bands, creating live music experiences distinctive to North Carolina. NCS is dedicated to giving voice to new art and has presented more than 50 U.S. or world premieres in its history.

Committed to engaging students of all ages across North Carolina, NCS leads one of the most extensive education programs of any symphony orchestra in the country—serving over 100,000 students each year. In alignment with the curriculum set by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the Symphony provides training and resources for teachers, sends small ensembles into classrooms, and presents full-orchestra in-person and online Education Concerts that bring the fundamentals of music to life. Music Discovery for preschoolers combines music with storytelling, and at the middle and high school levels, students have opportunities to work directly with NCS artists and perform for NCS audiences.


About the N.C. African American Heritage Commission

Created in 2008, the African American Heritage Commission is a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The commission works across the department to preserve, protect and promote the state’s African American history, art and culture for all people. Its endeavors include the identification of heritage sites, compiling resources for educators, extending the work of national programs such as the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom Underground Railroad, and independent initiatives including Oasis Spaces: Green Book Project.