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Live from WRTI 90.1: Craft Works Ensemble Sings from Bishop Richard Allen's Hymnal

Craft Works at WRTI in 2018

The African-American patriot Richard Allen founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1794, and led the congregation of Bethel AME in Philadelphia in a former blacksmith shop on 6th Street near Lombard. A Craft Works ensemble visits WRTI's Performance Studio on Feb. 8 at 12:10 PM to sing music from Bishop Allen's hymnal. WRTI's Susan Lewis is host.

Craft Works will perform highlights of their upcoming February 17th concert at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Trenton, NJ where the full program will include a lecture by Jason Allen (former director of the museum at Mother Bethel AME Church) about Bishop Allen's work as a pastor, abolitionist and patriot.

Born a slave in 1760, Richard Allen bought his freedom in 1780, became a preacher fours later, and in 1787 bought a lot in Philadelphia on 6th Street near Lombard, now the site of Mother Bethel AME Church, and the oldest piece of land continuously owned by African Americans in the U.S. 

Bishop Allen's Hymnal used shape notes to encourage congregational singing. This form of music notation was used widely in American singing schools and churches in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Craft Works is a group of professional musicians working in the greater Philadelphia area.  Founded in 2017, Craft Works develops, discusses, and performs music from all eras, genres, and cultures, mainly in the choral repertoire. The ensemble explores and collaborates with other musicians and experts about the process of crafting music and we share this via podcast and live events

WRTI Program: 

Paradise (O Glory), Charles Wesley, 1719

Never Turn Back, The Baltimore Collection, 1801

Montgomery/ Early My God With Out Delay, Isaac Watts, 1719

There is a Land of Pure Delight, Isaac Watts, 1707

What Poor Despised Company, Anon., 1774

And Must This Body Die, Isaac Watts, 1707

Bishop Richard Allen’s Hymnal: Lecture & Concert on February 17, 2019, 3 to 5 PM

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.