8:45 AM / Monday February 6, 2023

6 May 2016

Africa Enchants Me – Celebrating Black heritage through opera and poems

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May 6, 2016 Category: Diaspora Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Courtesy of Hazel Lee

Africa Enchants Me is an exciting musical journey of stirring songs and poems created by contemporary Philadelphia composer, Cynthia Cozette, and her sister, Hazel Lee, to celebrate their rich African American mixed cultural heritage.

Africa Enchants Me concert event will take place on Monday, June 6, 2016 at 7:00PM in the Montgomery Auditorium of the Parkway Central Free Library branch located at 1901 Vine Street in Philadelphia. Admission is free and open to the public. The program will feature riveting poems and opera excerpts from Cozette’s one act opera, “Adea,” and Cozette and Lee’s American Civil War opera, “Partway To Freedom.” The concert performance will be followed by a question and answer session with historical United States Colored Troops reenactors of the 3rd Regiment. This concert is sponsored by the Free Library Music Department commemoration of Juneteenth Day, the day in 1865 where the end of slavery was finally enforced in Texas occurring two years after the 1863 release of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. People of all ages should enjoy the program.

Telling the heartfelt story of the African American mixed cultural heritage thru opera and poems has been a lifetime journey of the two sisters. Cozette’s modern day opera, “Adea,” portrays the courage of a Black family overcoming the despair of poverty. The Civil War opera,

“Partway To Freedom,” with music by Cozette and libretto by Lee was inspired by their great grandfather Sergeant Warren Garner’s heroism and dedication while serving in the Civil War in the United States Colored Troops, 4th Regiment, Company I. The enchanting lyric voices of sopranos Hazelita Fauntroy and Evette Rose will be heard in this performance along with magnificent lyric tenor voices of Richard Smith and M. Barry Currington.

Cozette states, “I am a Black American the result of many cultures including African, European, Asian and Native American. I express myself in tonal music. I believe it is very important that the music one hears reflects and tells the story of various cultures. As the first Black American to receive a graduate degree in music composition from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977, I believe the time is right for my tonal style of contemporary classical music.”

For more information, contact the Parkway Central Free Library Branch, Phone-215-686-5322; E-mail: g[email protected]; Website: or contact the composer, Cynthia Cozette, directly at E-mail: [email protected]

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