Pulitzer Prize Winner to Speak at Anthracite Heritage Museum

Please check out the November program listings to see what else is happening on the Trails of History this weekend.

Tomorrow afternoon, Nov. 14, from 3:15 to 4:45, composer Julia Wolfe will talk about her Pulitzer Prize-winning oratorio, Anthracite Fields, at the Anthracite Heritage Museum (AHM) in Scranton. As noted in an article in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, Wolfe conducted some of her research at the museum, including interviewing AHM docent Barbara Powell about her experiences growing up in the hard coal region. Wolfe told Times Leader reporter Mary Therese Biebel that her conversations with Powell provided the inspiration for the "Flowers" portion of the oratorio, shedding light on ways that mining families added beauty to their daily lives.

Anthracite Fields, which won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music, was commissioned by the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia through Meet the Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA program, made possible by generous support from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund. Additional support was made possible through the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Alan Harler New Ventures Fund, The Presser Foundation, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.

Bang on a Can All Stars (photo provided by Wyoming Seminary)
Bang on a Can All Stars and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, conducted by Julian Wachner, will perform Anthracite Fields tomorrow night, 7:30 pm, at Wyoming Seminary's Kirby Center for the Creative Arts, Kingston (Wolfe will give a pre-concert talk at 6:30). Tickets are $10 online or at the door, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Anthracite Heritage Museum.

To learn more about Anthracite Fields and composer Julia Wolfe, check out this interview on NPR's "All Things Considered," visit Bang on a Can's website, or watch this brief clip:

In Other News...

On a related note, the State Museum's "Pennsylvania Icons" exhibit has opened. Among the objects are items carried by Marilyn McCusker, a roof bolter helper who became the first woman killed in a deep-mine accident when the roof of the Rushton Mine (Centre County) collapsed on Oct. 2, 1979. McCusker was a bituminous (soft coal) miner, but her story is similar in many ways to those told in the anthracite region about the dangers of mining.

Although leaf peeping season is pretty much over, there are still plenty of reasons to visit PA's northern tier. A new driving tour designed by the Greater Renovo Area Heritage Park Association features locations and public art related to the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Lumber Heritage Region (the map was supported by LHR and other entities). Of course, one of the stops is the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, whose new exhibit (that I might have mentioned once or twice here in Trailheads) includes a section on the CCC and its legacy in northern PA. What I haven't mentioned (I don't think) is that the Visitor Center at the Lumber Museum will now be open year-round, so if you're in the area, be sure to stop in.

If you're more of an armchair tourist, you might want to see what's happening in Bucks County with new Google Street View Trekker tours that include Washington Crossing Historic Park. It took me a little while to figure out the navigation, but it was interesting once I did. Not a replacement, in my opinion, for being there in person, but a useful tool for anyone wanting to preview a visit.


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