Philadelphia Freedom Festival


Calendar of Events

Octavius Catto Story: A Philadelphia Freedom Fighter
Connecting Arts-N-Schools 

February–April 2014

These workshop/performances will be presented in four participating Philadelphia schools and integrate with the history, literature, and arts curriculum. 

Each participating school will receive two copies of Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America, courtesy of Temple University Press.

Participating schools only.


Let Freedom Sing
Community Jubilee

February 22, 2014 | 2:00PM–4:00PM 

Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church

Invited ministers and their choirs will participate in a church meeting revival offering a praise and worship opportunity for the entire community. 

The program will consist of Negro Spirituals, sacred music born out of the African Diaspora experience, praise dancers, and special words from several special guest ministers.

Refreshments will be served after the event during a Meet & Greet with the ministers. Tours of the Richard Allen Museum will also be available. 


Taste of Freedom
Catto Awards Luncheon

March 28, 2014 | 11:30AM–2:00PM

Union League of Philadelphia, Lincoln Hall

In celebration of Women's History Month, the Mann is pleased to honor local African-American women who have made distinguished contributions to their professions and communities.


Freedom of Composition
Master Class

April 18, 2014 | 2:00PM–4:00PM

Curtis Institute of Music, Lenfest Hall

Music students from Philadelphia universities will be invited participants in this Master Class/Meet the Artist session facilitated by Uri Caine, composer of the commissioned work, The Passion of Octavius Catto, which will have its World Premiere performance at the Man Stage Finale Concert.

Master Class open to participating schools only. This event is in partnership with the Curtis Institute of Music


Let Freedom Ring
Scholarly Panel Discussion

April 30, 2014 | 4:00PM–6:00PM

Temple University, Mitten Hall


Live broadcast by 900AM-WURD, this engaging discussion joins a diverse set of voices from Philadelphia's academic and activist communities to reflect on the life and impact of Octavius V. Catto.  Performance by Cheyney University Concert Choir to follow. 

This event is in partnership with the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection and 900AM-WURD


Let Freedom Speak — Voices of Our Children 
Catto Youth Freedom Project  

May 16, 2014 | 10:00AM–11:00AM

Church of the Advocate

400 Philadelphia students are invited to attend an engaging, celebratory program featuring local young spoken word artists and city-wide choirs. 

This event is in partnership with Art Sanctuary's Celebration of Black Writing and is open to participating schools only. 


Freedom Rap Session
Youth Freedom Panel Discussion 

June 7, 2014 | 1:00PM - 3:00PM

Crescendo Restaurant & Lounge at the Mann 


Invited local hip-hop artists and scholars who have experienced & studied racism in Philadelphia will discuss how the power of music is reflected in their words. 

Performances by: Nina "Lyrispect" Ball & Hip-Hop Krewe

This event is in partnership with Art Sanctuary


Gospel Meets Symphony Featuring Marvin Sapp and The Philadelphia Orchestra
Festival Finale Concert

July 19, 2014 | 8:00PM

The Mann's Main Stage 

World Premiere performance of a commissioned work by Philadelphia composer Uri Caine featuring The Philadelphia Orchestra; Dr. Marvin Sapp, guest soloist; Barbara Walker, soprano; André Raphel, conductor; Nolan Williams, Jr., conductor; a 300-voice gospel choir; and praise dancers. 

A pre-concert event on PECO Plaza will feature Catto re-enactor Robert Branch, Enon Children's Choir, and the "Trailblazers to Freedom Digital Interactive Media Traveling Trunk" presented in partnership with the African American Museum in Philadelphia

Click Here for Concert and Venue Information and FAQs for Gospel Meets Symphony on July 19th.


Freedom Youth Jamboree
Young People's Concert Series 

July 28, 2014 | 11:00AM

The Mann's Main Stage 


A free children's concert featuring "Catto at the Bat," an original "baseball en pointe" piece by The Rock School for Dance Education, and Negro Spirituals performed by the Philadelphia Boys Choir. 

Four Greenfield Performance Treasures Workshops to follow featuring the Philadelphia Boys Choir.




The Philadelphia Freedom Festival has been supported by: 

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
The Knight Foundation
The Presser Foundation
The Lomax Family Foundation
The Pennsylvania Abolition Society

Philadelphia Freedom Festival was supported by New Music USA. To follow the project as it unfolds, visit our project page:

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