CNY Reads Day April 22 offers special programs for community based on ‘North Star Conspiracy’
CNY Reads Day April 22 offers special programs for community based on ‘North Star Conspiracy’April 17, 2006Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
CNY Reads, the largest “one book, one community” program in New York state, continues its programming for the year with CNY Reads Day April 22, which includes four special programs based on the CNY Reads 2005-06 book selection, “North Star Conspiracy” (Penguin USA, 1995) by Miriam Grace Monfredo.
On Saturday, April 22, noted griot Vanessa Johnson brings “North Star Notes,” a jazzy interpretation of Monfredo’s “North Star Conspiracy,” to the Central Library at 3 p.m. Original music by jazz band Mate Masie will accompany the story of a runaway slave, the man who loves her and the courageous people who help them to freedom on the Underground Railroad.
“North Star Notes” features the voice of Johnson, Bernie Williford on keyboard and Corky Ellison on percussion. Johnson integrates music, call and response, and drumming in her unique style of interactive storytelling. Williford, an accomplished musician on keyboard, bass guitar and vocals, is the songwriter for Mate Masie, lending his original jazz and blues compositions to the telling of stories from the Underground Railroad. Ellison’s career as a drummer and vocalist spans 20 years in nationwide venues.
Immediately prior to Saturday’s performance, winners of the CNY Reads high school essay and poetry contests will take a few minutes to read their work. “North Star Notes” is sponsored by the Onondaga County Public Library and Syracuse University Library Associates. The Central Library is located in The Galleries of Syracuse, 447 S. Salina St. “North Star Notes,” which will be in Central’s Curtin Auditorium, is free and open to the public. For more information, call 435-1900.
At 2:15 p.m., the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST) will hold a planetarium show on celestial navigation, including a discussion of how escaped slaves followed the “drinking gourd” in the sky as they traveled north on the Underground Railroad. This event is available for the cost of admission to the MOST, which is $4 for adults and $3.50 for children 11 and under and for seniors 65 and older. Members will be admitted without charge. The MOST is located at 500 South Franklin St. in Syracuse.
Also as part of CNY Reads Day, “Tea & Sympathy: Women of the North Star Conspiracy” will be held at 1 p.m. at the Onondaga Historical Association Museum & Research Center, 321 Montgomery St. in Syracuse. Participants will “meet” a group of culturally diverse women from the 19th century as they discuss their lives as portrayed in “North Star Conspiracy.” Fresh, original and creative, this lively conversation will bring together a librarian, a women’s rights activist, a former slave, a brothel keeper, a plantation wife/slave owner and a town cultural advocate — each with strong opinions that will reflect on the history of activism prior to the Civil War. Their ideas and beliefs will illuminate the past, converge with the present and offer hope for the future.
“Tea & Sympathy” encourages all participants to become more familiar with past Civil Rights leaders and their feelings about women’s rights, slavery and voting. Audience participation and opinions are welcome. Cost is $5 per person and includes light refreshments. Door prizes include author-signed copies of “North Star Conspiracy.”
Those who wish to meet “North Star Conspiracy” author Monfredo can do so at noon at the Erie Canal Museum, 318 Erie Boulevard East in Syracuse. She will discuss her novel in progress, “Canal” (working title), which is set during the construction of the Erie Canal and is filled with historical characters and events, intrigue and adventure. The presentation is free and open to the public.
Led by SU’s Library Associates and including many Central New York partners, CNY Reads promotes reading, research, discovery and sharing of perspectives among readers across Central New York by encouraging them to read the same book and participate in related programs. Syracuse University Library Associates leads the CNY Reads Consortium, which includes representatives from organizations throughout Central New York.
To encourage the largest possible community of readers, CNY Reads has distributed close to 1,000 copies of “North Star Conspiracy” to local organizations and programs. For more information about all CNY Reads events and contests go to http://library.syr.edu/cnyreads or contact Gregory J. Griffin at 443-2537.