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May. 28, 2022 | Saturday
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Bravo Niagara! brings Voices of Freedom alive via video
Filming of “Freedom Train” featuring the Blackburn Brothers at the Voices of Freedom Park, Niagara-on-the-Lake (Supplied/Alex Heidbuechel)

The Voices of Freedom Festival is broadening its reach with a new short film to be released Oct. 30.

"Voices of Freedom: A Musical Short Film" is one of several videos to be released by Bravo Niagara! in lieu of the in-person lineup of acclaimed performers which was cancelled for the 2020/2021 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“While unable to bring audiences together for live performances, we remain committed to supporting artists and the creation of new music,” said Alexis Spieldenner, executive director and co-founder of Bravo Niagara!

The reimagined festival will continue to highlight Niagara’s significant Black history as it has been doing for the last five years. The Voices of Freedom Festival has become an important platform for amplifying the voices of underrepresented peoples and histories through the arts, a statement said.

The organization will be producing a series of inspiring and compelling videos to be shared virtually as part of Bravo Niagara! Amplified. Each video will feature the world premiere of original music commissioned by Bravo Niagara! for the Voices of Freedom Festival.

“We feel these videos will be important legacy projects with a far-reaching impact,” Spieldenner said.

“Our first video 'Voices of Freedom: A Musical Short Film' highlights the legacy of the Underground Railroad in Niagara and features performances by the Maples Blues Award-winning Blackburn Brothers, who are descendants of freedom seekers, and special guest Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman,” she said.

The original song commissioned by Bravo Niagara!, "Sister Wilma," honours the late Wilma Morrison.

“The filming of “Sister Wilma” took place at the Nathaniel Dett Memorial Chapel BME Church National Historic Site in Niagara Falls. This original song written by Brooke Blackburn and commissioned by Bravo Niagara! is a tribute to our late mentor and dear friend Wilma Morrison who inspired us to create the Voices of Freedom Festival in 2015.”

In November, "Voices of Freedom: Sounds of Hope" will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Holocaust, bringing new visions of hope for future generations through performances infused with outreach initiatives, the statement said.

"Robi Botos: Romani Experience" showcases the Juno Award-winning instrumentalist and composer on a personal journey through his heritage. The selection will feature instalments from his acclaimed score "A People Uncounted. A new piece" commissioned by Bravo Niagara! will also be debuted.

Bravo’s composer-in-residence, Christos Hatzis, will perform the commissioned piece "Menorah," which is “a technically demanding composition for violin and piano,” Hatzis said.

Follow Bravo Niagara! on social media and visit for premiere dates coming soon.