On Sunday, Dec. 8 at 3 p.m. in Spiro 2, please join the Archaeological Society of Staten Island for a lecture by Dr. Rita Reynolds, a Wagner college history professor, on “The Brown Fellowship Society Burial Ground: Charleston’s Famous Unknown Free Black Cemetery.”
Dr. Reynolds summarizes: The Brown Fellowship Society Burial Ground was established in 1790 by a group of wealthy free men of color in Charleston, S.C. In antebellum Charleston, cemeteries were racially segregated. Free blacks who did not wish to be buried with slaves established their own burial grounds to allow them a degree of dignity in death. The BFS interred members and their families for roughly 150 years. Unfortunately, the property was sold to the Catholic Diocese of Charleston in the mid-1950s after it fell into disuse. The human remains from the cemetery were supposed to have been moved by the new owners of the property to a different location, but only the headstones were moved; the bodies remained. The site was paved over and used as a parking lot for 50 years. Because no formal society cemetery records have survived, anthropologist Michael Scholl and I have used Charleston city death records from 1829 to 1870 to illuminate what life was like for this segment of society. We were able to extract details about living conditions, gender disparities, infant mortality, overall health, medical treatment and, to a lesser degree, attitudes about class and race when it came to burial of some of the slaves owned by wealthy free people of color.
On Sunday, Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. at Stapleton’s Trinity Lutheran Church, the college choirs will present their holiday concert, “Gloria!” The Treble Concert Choir and harpist Karen Stern, under the direction of Beth Johanning, will perform Benjamin Britten's evocative and mystical “Ceremony of Carols” in this centennial year of the composer’s birth. The College Choir will be joined by a chamber orchestra to perform Vivaldi’s lively “Gloria,” under the direction of Roger Wesby. The concert will also include Herbert Howells’ deep and mysterious “Magnificat,” with guest organist Kenneth Hamrick, and Eric Whitacre’s atmospheric “Lux Aurumque.” The concert will conclude with the traditional Hanukkah favorite, “Ocho Kandelikas,” and a brief carol sing. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the door or by calling 718-390-3313. Trinity Lutheran Church is located at 309 St. Paul’s Ave., Staten Island, at the corner of Beach Street and Cebra Avenue.
On Sunday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. (not 3 p.m., as previously announced) in the Main Hall theater, join us for a performance by the Concert Band, directed by Robert Rams with assistant director Paul Tripo. The program opens with traditional concert marches and exciting modern original works by John Philip Sousa, Eric Whitacre, Francis W. McBeth, Clifton Jones and Raymond Scott. Next, the band ushers in the holiday season with “Angels Sing,” “Cancion De Navidad,” “Hanukkah Highlights” and a Leroy Anderson arrangement of “Christmas Festival.”