Harry T. Burleigh Society Saint Day Celebration 2018-St. Philip's Church


Harry T. Burleigh Society Saint Day Celebration 2018-St. Philip's Church

Sunday, September 9, 2018 at 2pm

The Harry T. Burleigh Society celebrated Burleigh’s Saint Day with a special program. September 11th is Harry T. Burleigh’s Saint Day in the Episcopal Church. In honor of his relationship with St. Philip’s Church, his first church home when he came to New York City, the Society reflected about  Burleigh’s spiritual life, heard performances of his music, and had fellowship with the St. Philip’s community. 

Rev. Terence Lee, Rector, St. Philip's Church 

Ms. Eugenia Clark, Founding Chair, St. Philip’s Church Culture Committee

Mr. Jonathan Green, Baritone

Mr. Erik Carlson, Keyboardist 

Dr. Jean Snyder, Ethnomusicologist and Burleigh Biographer 

Ms. Lynne Foote, President-Harry T. Burleigh Society 

Dr. Marti Slaten, Executive Director-Harry T. Burleigh Society 

Dr. Jean Snyder’s 2016 biography Harry T. Burleigh: From the Spiritual to the Harlem Renaissance states that: 

 “…Burleigh gravitated to the black Episcopal congregations where he would be most likely to find choral traditions similar to those he had enjoyed in Erie’s Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul. Eventually he joined the Men and Boys’ Choir at historic St. Philip’s Episcopal Church (not yet in Harlem)” (Snyder, 114).

“Exactly when Burleigh joined the Men and Boy’s Choir at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church has not been established. St. Philip’s was the financial and social pinnacle of black Episcopalianism in New York City, and characteristically Burleigh rose to the ecclesiastical and musical creme de la creme of the city’s black community. Descried as ‘perhaps the wealthiest congregation of Negroes in the country,’ the congregation at this time was located in the Tenderloin District at 161 West 25th Street” (Snyder, 115-116).

“Joining the St. Philip’s vested male choir gave Burleigh expanded entree to the social groups that could support his ambitions as a classical singer. From his first months in New York City, Burleigh’s connections with the city’s black social elite established his place among the network of artists who performed in the urban communities of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast”(Snyder, 116).