When parishioners at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex, Connecticut explored their community’s past, they found historical ties to one of the earliest published Black composers in the US, who had been enslaved. And now Sawney Freeman’s melodies are being performed again. An 1817 manuscript of his music is in the archive of Trinity's Watkinson Library. After the library digitized the fragile documents, the church music director transcribed the notation into something contemporary players could read and in February, St. John’s gathered musicians for a first-ever recording of Sawney’s works. For the musicians, performing this newly-discovered music was moving and poignant.

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