Concert to take Hudson Valley for a ride on the Underground Railroad

underground rr HZTThe Department of Music at SUNY New Paltz celebrates African American History Month and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with its production of A Ride on The Underground Railroad to be performed on Sunday, Feb. 10, 3 p.m., in the Julien J. Studley Theatre on the New Paltz campus. A Ride on The Underground Railroad features the vocal talents of students from SUNY New Paltz and Newburgh Free Academy, as well as professional singers, the Poné Ensemble for New Music and noted musicians. The performance features music from an original opera, HARRIET TUBMAN: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom, by music professor Dr. Nkeiru Okoye, as well as regional premieres and familiar works also centered on themes of freedom and courage. Okoye will provide narration during the concert, which includes the SUNY New Paltz University Choir performing traditional spirituals; tenor David Hughey performing composer Wendell Logan’s Runagate, Runagate; mezzo soprano Patrice Eaton singing newly commissioned arrangements of Wade in the Water and Go Down Moses with the Newburgh Free Academy Choir; and members of the College Youth Symphony. New Paltz senior Nicholas Denizard will play the Maple Leaf Rag of Scott Joplin; and soprano Sumayya Ali will sing Okoye’s Songs of Harriet Tubman.

A photography exhibit in honor of African American History Month, organized by Susan Stessin-Cohn and Ashley Hurlburt of Historic Huguenot Street, with assistance from photographer and SUNY New Paltz senior Shelley Weresnick, will be on view in the lobby of the theatre during the performance.

Ali and Hughey will give a master class to the vocal students from the studio of New Paltz professor Kent Smith at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6 in the Nadia and Max Shepard Recital Hall. The master class is funded in part by the Kenneth Davenport Residency Program and is free and open to the public.


Concert tickets are $12, general admission; $8, senior citizens (62+) and SUNY faculty/ staff; $5, students with ID. Tickets will be available at the door one hour prior to performance. For advanced purchase, visit For additional information, call 257-2700.