The Liberty Lines: How the Underground Railroad Spurred the Civil War
Saturday, September 21, 2019 | 7:30PM | Maple Street Chapel, Lombard, IL | $20 in advance ($25 at the door)
The Liberty Lines is a program of authentic spirituals and folk songs interspersed with readings from 19th century slave narratives and other primary sources. The program was compiled by Andrew Calhoun and will be performed by an ensemble cast.
The history of the Underground Railroad is traced as a grassroots movement of conscience which spurred the Civil War. Readings include the true story of “Eliza” crossing the ice from Bound for Canaan by Fergus Bordewich; The Fugitive Blacksmith by James W. C. Pennington; Frederick Douglass’ Autobiography; the story of Harriet Tubman; Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address; essential information on African-American military participation in the Civil War from Black Reconstruction, by William E. B. Du Bois; and Thomas W. Higginson’s Army Life in a Black Regiment.
Cast: Andrew Calhoun, guitar, vocals; Tonya Peebles, Gloria Robinson, Christopher Skyles and Runako Soyini, vocals. Casey Calhoun appears as Emily Dickinson. (See cast bios below.)
Songs include "Get On Board, Little Children," "Run to Jesus," "Wake Up Jacob," "Go Down Moses," "Sun Don't Set in the Morning," "Run Mary Run," and "Tree of Life." (See extended list below.)
This is a moving, informative, ultimately uplifting show about the triumph of the human spirit.
The Liberty Lines will be performed at the historic Maple Street Chapel, 200 S. Main Street, Lombard, Illinois. Show time is 7:30PM (doors open at 7:00PM). Tickets are $20.00 in advance and $25.00 at the door on date of show. To purchase tickets, use this link: TICKETS. No refunds or exchanges; all sales are final.
QUESTIONS? Please direct any questions about purchasing tickets, the venue, directions, publicity, or the show to Melissa at email@example.com.
Andrew Calhoun is a Chicago singer-songwriter, author and music historian. He has recorded 14 albums of original and traditional songs. He received a Lantern Bearer Award from the Folk Alliance Region Midwest in 2012 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Woodstock Folk Festival in 2014. He is at work on a Robert Burns songbook, and plans another recording of folk spirituals based on the Lonesome Valley seeking ritual.
Gloria Robinson, a Chicago native, has been performing music as long as she can remember. Whether it was a Black History Month program for the Veterans Administration (VA) or performing for weddings and home-goings, she finds joy in performing and orchestrating musical events. She worked for the VA for almost 30 years. Her favorite pastimes include writing poetry, singing, playing guitar, and spending time with her beautiful grandchildren. She is delighted to have this opportunity to perform with her daughters Tonya and Runako.
Tonya Peebles, a Chicago native, has been performing since a toddler on her parents reel to reel. She was active in Theater Groups including Show Choir, performing solos and competing across the country and internationally. She has also performed with local Chicago and D.C. groups under R&B and Pop genres. Tonya graduated from Howard University with a B.S., and Keller Graduate School with an M.B.A. She is a Financial Coach. Her favorite pastimes include yoga, piano, singing, and spending time with her 2 beautiful sons, Brandon and Caleb.
Runako Soyini is a teacher and counselor with the Chicago Board of Education. She received her Masters of Science in Counseling from National Louis University and her Bachelors of Science in Language Arts Education from Alabama State University. She has performed in various productions such as: Crown, Jesus Christ Superstar, Tartuffe and A Piece of My Soul. Runako is one of the star voices on the Andrew Calhoun and Campground: Bound to Go CD, performing spirituals such as “Run Mary Run”.
Christopher Skyles’ vocal talent was discovered by his freshman college roommate, a music major, who heard him sing and ‘dared’ him to try out for the college choir. Christopher became lead soloist for his college choir all 4 years, and has been singing ever since. He has sung with the Grant Park Symphony, South Shore Opera Company, American Chamber Opera, the University of Chicago Chorus and the Baroque Choral Ensemble City Musick. He has been a featured soloist and section leader for both 1st United Methodist Church (Chicago Temple) and University Church in Hyde Park. Christopher is the co-founder of the Third Eye Theatre Ensemble, a small opera company in Chicago and is currently on the Board of Directors for The Floating Opera.
Casey Calhoun studied dance at Dance Center Evanston, Gus Giordano Dance Studio, and Cornish School of the Arts in Seattle. Noted for her clear, distinctive lead and harmony vocals, she performs in a folk duo with her father, Andrew. Their recent duo CD, Skeins, has received extensive national airplay.
Songs and narratives included in The Liberty Lines
“Deep River” – from The Story of the Jubilee Singers With Their Songs, J.B.T. Marsh, 1876
“Get On Board Little Children” – from Hampton Collection / Religious Folk Songs of the Negro, 1874/1909
Narrative of Isaac Griffin, Chatham, Canada, 1855, from Benjamin Drew, The Refugee
“Wake Up Jacob” – from Delaware, Slave Songs of the United States, 1867
Underground RR background and tale of “Eliza” from the account of the Rankin family adapted from Bound for Canaan, by Fergus M. Bordewich, 2005
“Go to Sleep, My Baby” – from Negro Folk Rhymes, Thomas W. Talley, 1922
“Run Mary Run” – from Religious Folk Songs of the Negro, 1874/1909
“Wide River” – from Folk Songs of the American Negro, John Wesley Work, 1915
“Sun Don’t Set in the Morning” – from Religious Folk Songs of the Negro
Narrative from The Fugitive Blacksmith by James W. C. Pennington, 1849
“Ol’ Egyp’”, from Spirituals of the South Carolina Low Country, 1930
Reading from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, 1845
“Run to Jesus,” from The Story of the Jubilee Singers, contributed by Frederick Douglass
Harriet Tubman quotes and background from Harriet Tubman: Bound for the Promised Land by Kate Clifford Larson, 2003; Harriet Tubman, The Road to Freedom, by Catherine Clinton, 2004; Bound for Canaan by Fergus M. Bordewich
“O Freedom!” from Religious Folk Songs of the Negro
“Walking Shoes” from Spirituals of the South Carolina Low Country, 1930
Piano Interlude: “Give Me Jesus” arr. Thomas W. Jefferson
“Go Down Moses,” first published as “Song of the Contrabands” in 1862
“Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” from Slave Songs of the United States
Piano Interlude: “I’ve Just Come From the Fountain” arr. Thomas W. Jefferson
Reading from Frederick Douglass Monthly, November 1859
“John Brown’s Body” – camp meeting song from circa 1860, melody then used by Julia Ward Howe for lyric to “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” written in 1861.
Civil War background from Battle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPherson, 1988
Thomas Higginson, info from Wikipedia, Bound for Canaan, and Army Life in a Black Regiment by Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 1869
“Hammering Judgment” –from Calhoun Plantation Songs by Emily Hallowell
Poem – Emily Dickinson, from Complete Poems
“Michael Haul the Boat Ashore “– version from Hilton Head, S.C., Slave Songs of the United States, 1867
“Goodbye, City of Babylon” – Louisiana spiritual from More Mellows by R. Emmet Kennedy, 1931
Reading from William E.B., Dubois, Black Reconstruction, 1935
“Steal Away to Jesus” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” from The Jubilee Singers and their Songs, 1876
“Tree of Life” (You Got a Right) –from Calhoun Plantation Songs, Emily Hallowell, 1907
Recommended reading: Bound for Canaan, by Fergus Bordewich; Harriet Tubman: Bound for the Promised Land, by Kate Clifford Larson; Black Reconstruction by W.E.B. DuBois; Slave Songs of the United States, by Allen, Ware and Garrison; Negro Folk Rhymes, Thomas W. Talley; Dark Midnight When I Rise, Andrew Ward.