Hugh Mangum photographs courtesy of Margaret Sartor and Alex Harris, and the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Where We Find Ourselves is a 5-piece song cycle, based on the rediscovered portrait collection of Hugh Mangum, a 20th century NC photographer. This “pandemic proof” project, conceived to be rehearsed and performed during this challenging time, is by composer Michael Bussewitz-Quarm, whose works often focus on social and environmental issues.

Mangum photographed people of all races and walks of life, primarily in North Carolina and Virginia. Many of these images will be featured in the CSC livestream performance on June 4th.

Program Preview: Would You Know Me by My Hat?
The first piece in Where We Find Ourselves is all about HATS. For many of Mangum’s subjects, their portrait would be the only photograph of themselves they’d ever have, and they chose hats to reflect how they wanted to be seen by the world. This first song offers a peek into the lives of different subjects via their hats: a cavalry rider, an immigrant workingman, and an African-American mother who aspires to see her children have a better life:

Do you see, do you see my velveteen hat?
Ostrich feathers standing tall.
Gonna live to see my children fly
Higher than me, higher than Jim Crow.

The Concert Singers of Cary

Cary Arts Center

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Cary, NC 27511

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Some images by Denny Colvin and Mark Rainey