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HEARTSongs: The Power of the Word
HEARTSongs: The Power of the Word

Sat, Feb 17


Cedar Grove

HEARTSongs: The Power of the Word

How does the first published Black poet from the South connect to the Torrance family? Learn more at HEARTSongs: The Power of the Word

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Time & Location

Feb 17, 2024, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Cedar Grove , 8229 Gilead Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078, USA

About the event

How did the verse of the 19th-century enslaved poet George Moses Horton touch the Torrance family of Huntersville’s historic Cedar Grove? Join us for HEARTSongs ‘24, a celebration of local poetry past and present, to learn more about Horton’s life and poetry and to enjoy the best of local poetry, music, and dance. HEARTSongs ‘24 is a multi-media exploration of the power of the word, free to the community on Saturday, February 17, 2024, from 2:00-5:00 at Huntersville’s historic Cedar Grove and Hugh Torance House and Store. Special guests include:

Michael D. Connor as George Moses Horton with Bill Russell, President of the Hugh Torance House and Store at the inaugural HEARTSongs in February '22.

Betty Jane “Bee Jay” Caldwell: Huntersville native, author, poet, re-enactor, and Pottstown historian who loves to share stories about the presence and influence of her ancestors' spirits in her life. Caldwell is a passionate writer on the preservation of local African American historic sites and history, documenting many stories otherwise lost.  

Sasha Banks: a Pushcart-nominated poet and filmmaker, Banks’ work has been published in The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, PBS Newshour, and others. Banks is a 2019 Rhode Island Writers’ Colony Fellow, creator of Poets for Ferguson, and the author of america, MINE. She will read from her work, as well as facilitate a HEARTS original collaborative poem that all guests can help write.

Woven throughout these presentations are music and dance performances by some of the area’s most accomplished artists:

This month’s musical guest is Kel Williams and the Friday Night Vibe, a dynamic jazz combo featuring the pure and expressive vocals of Huntersville’s own Kel Williams.  Kel is a Charlotte-based singer, songwriter, poet, and actress, whose soulful emotive vocals pull listeners in and bring life to songs new and old.  Friday Night Vibe is a collective of like-minded musicians whose music creates an atmosphere that speaks to the soul. Drawing influence from Chick Corea, Chet Baker, and Art Blakey, this collab is quickly becoming one of Charlotte's favorite ensembles. Don’t miss this chance to see up-and-coming local talent in this intimate and historic performance space. 

Celebrated Charlotte dance company, Moving Spirits, Inc. brings to life the dance traditions of the African diaspora in the American South. Moving Spirits, Inc. was founded by dancer, choreographer, and educator Tamara Williams, Assistant Professor of Dance at UNC Charlotte. In 2021 Williams was awarded an Arts and Science Council’s Emerging Creators Fellowship for her recent study of the Ring Shout tradition.

During the event, the adjacent Hugh Torance House and Store will be open offering crafts, snacks, beverages, sundries, and more.  Plan to come early and/or stay late to enjoy the historic grounds and take a tour of the oldest standing store in NC. The Hugh Torance House and Store is one of Mecklenburg County’s few surviving 18th-century structures and is adjacent to Cedar Grove, the National Register 1831 Greek Revival home of James Torrance, son of Hugh and Isabella Torance. A private residence, Cedar Grove opens its doors for HEARTS (history, ecology, arts, reunion, trails, store) Happenings, community gatherings featuring music, visual arts, and lectures exploring local history, nature, and our shared sense of place.  

This event is made possible by dedicated volunteers, HEARTS Circle members, Lake Norman Realty, and community donations. All proceeds benefit HTHS’s efforts to further the HEARTS mission of historic preservation, ecological conservation, and forging community connections in our region.


  • HEARTSongs 2024

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    +Service fee
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