About the Project

The Good Raised Up, a collaboration between Commonwealth Youthchoirs and the Johnson House Historic Site, is innovative in several ways: its narration of a dramatic episode of Philadelphia's history to illuminate ethical action in the face of social injustice; its highlighting of children's choral music as the particular medium to give voice to this history; its setting of the premiere of the new work in the actual venue where the historical event took place; and its call to community members to gather in this place to learn from, share, celebrate, and be transformed by this story and its meaning as both local history and global parable for our times.

Commonwealth Youthchoirs has commissioned two acclaimed Philadelphia artists, storyteller Charlotte Blake-Alston and jazz violinist John Blake, Jr., to create an original work of “sung story” recounting a fateful night when a community came together to conceal escaped slaves from a search party seeking to return “fugitives” to slavery. The Johnson House Historic Site is Philadelphia’s only accessible, intact stop on the Underground Railroad, and was home to generations of Quaker abolitionists. Charlotte Blake-Alston has conducted research and developed the story’s text, and John Blake, Jr. has set the text to music. The resulting composition will be sung by Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir, along with young singers of the Find Your Instrument! (FYI!) choir from Commonwealth Youthchoirs' choral education program at the underresourced public John Wister School in Germantown. The commissioned work will be performed in Northwest Philadelphia on February 24th, 2013 at 2:00, 2:45 and 3:30 pm.