American Song Flyer 20160228

“American Song,” a concert of songs by American composers, will be performed on Sunday, April 10, 3 pm at the Beulah Presbyterian Church, Mill Gap, VA (on Rt. 84 at Back Creek). Performing will be Lewis Freeman, baritone, and Gillian Cookson, piano. The concert is being presented as a benefit for the Highland County Arts Council.

Highlights of the program will include Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs, Paul Bowles’ Blue Mountain Ballads (with poetry by Tennessee Williams) and songs by Samuel Barber set to poems from James Joyce’s Chamber Music, the author’s first published work. Also featured will be works by Lee Hoiby, Ned Rorem, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern and Richard Rodgers, and poetry by Robert Frost, Walt Whitman and Ezra Pound.

Mr. Freeman, a Highland County resident, has performed widely in the Mid-Atlantic area and abroad. He has been praised by the Washington Post for his “commanding” and “strong, sold baritone” and Opera News acclaimed his “freshness and charm” in the title role of Sousa’s El Capitan. He has been a soloist with the Washington National Opera, Washington Bach Consort, National Symphony, New Dominion Chorale, Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, Opera International, Detmolder Jugendorchester (Detmold, Germany), Cathedral Choral Society, Columbus (OH) Symphony and Greenville (SC) Symphony. Among his more than 70 roles in opera, oratorio, theatre, musical theatre and film is the title role in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, Figaro and Don Bartolo in Rossini’s Barber of Seville, Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata, Don Alfonso in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte and Elijah in Mendelssohn’s Elijah. As an actor, he is an Associate Artist with award-winning Constellation Theatre in Washington, DC.

Ms. Cookson is a vocal coach and accompanist based in Washington, DC. Born in England, she received her degree from the Royal Academy of Music in London. She has been a coach and accompanist with the Washington National Opera, Baltimore Opera and Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, and for many years a faculty member of the Westminster Choir College’s summer program. She has worked with numerous distinguished artists, including renown mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, whom she has accompanied at Covent Garden in London, the Teatro Real in Madrid and the Kennedy Center Washington, DC.

A minimum, tax-deductible donation for the benefit concert is $10; children under 12 are free. All proceeds will benefit the Highland County Arts Council.

For information, contact Gretta Sandberg, 540-468-2769 and

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