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Five-time Grammy Award winner Robert Cray launches the June 8-17 Gettysburg Festival with the blues, a purely American music style completely fitting for a festival focused on American arts, culture and cuisine.
More than 75 additional events explore a full range of American art forms: Broadway-style improv theater, farm-to-table culinary events designed by a former White House chef, traditional as well as contemporary brass, America’s largest gathering of historical artists, up-and-coming Americana folk trio Red Molly, and a choral concert exploring the roots of America’s Negro spirituals, along with much more.
Cray, credited with carrying America’s blues tradition into the 21st century, was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011 and has based a successful career spanning 35 years upon his soulful voice, creative guitar work, and songs bridging the gaps between blues, rock, soul, gospel and jazz.
The blues-tinged theme continues as blues singer Shemekia Copeland teams up with the festival’s most popular culinary event, “Blues, Beer & BBQ.” The Boston Globe writes, “She roars with a sizzling hot intensity.”
“This 5th anniversary festival builds on a strong foundation of musical excellence at Gettysburg Festival, but also explores a wider range of musical styles than ever before, including not only blues, but brass, rock, Americana/folk, and choral music,” said Festival Executive Director Beth Kirby.
The Gettysburg Festival presents a rich musical history of America through the show Then Sings My Soul: Songs and Spirituals from the American Experience, featuring award-winning mezzo-soprano Cheryse McLeod Lewis. Spirituals, rooted in the Civil War era, are combined with inspirational Broadway favorites and historical narration which commemorates Juneteenth.
Perennial festival favorite, the free All-American Brass Picnic includes a day-long lineup of performers including the critically-acclaimed “dream team” of brass – Rodney Mack Philadelphia Big Brass.
The Festival’s 2012 theater highlight is the interactive Broadway’s Next H!T Musical, hailed by The New York Times as “hilarious” thanks to a veteran cast of improv actors who bring audience ideas to life. Culinary event “Chocolate on Broadway” follows with a late-night, chocolate-infused menu.
Culinary events, sprinkled throughout the festival, feature a potpourri of personalities: former White House Chef Walter Scheib, Biker Billy (Bill Hufnagle), and Farmer Lee Jones, nationally known in the sustainable agricultural movement.
For more information on Gettysburg Festival events including tickets: www.gettysburgfestival.org, 717-334-0853.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/denaflows/