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Descendants of the hero of '12 Years a Slave' to gather at Loyola commemorative concert

April 4, 2014

Descendants of Solomon Northup, the man portrayed in the Oscar-winning movie “12 Years a Slave,” will gather at a free, public Loyola University New Orleans Chamber Orchestra concert Saturday, April 12 commemorating the former slave’s powerful story and the many who worked to preserve it. The concert is set for 7:30 p.m. in Roussel Hall, located in the Communications/Music Complex on the university’s main campus. The musical event is part of Loyola’s Montage Fine and Performing Arts Series.

Presented in partnership with the Afro-Louisiana Historical and Genealogical Society, the concert features violinist and Loyola student Amahl Hodge, who will play his instrument in a moving and symbolic representation of Northup, who was also a violinist. All of the musical pieces in the program—representing the string orchestra at it best from the Baroque to the contemporary period—are by composers that either influenced Northup as a violinist or surely would have interested him as a musician. The concert will conclude with a set of three pieces by Haitian composers Ludovic Lamothe and Werner Jaegerhuber representing the roots of the African and human condition.

“Loyola is a place where we can get people to think about these types of stories of forgiveness and hardship,” said Jean Montès, director of orchestras at Loyola. “My interest in this project has to do with striving to teach my students the Jesuit values that promote social justice and focus on educating men and women with and for others.”

A special reception following the concert in the lobby area of Roussel Hall will not only feature the descendants of Northup, but will also feature the descendants of those who played an integral part in helping Northup ultimately gain his freedom. This includes second- and third-generation descendants of Samuel Bass, the Canadian-born carpenter who risked his own life to deliver Northup’s letter detailing his plight, and John P. Waddill, the Louisiana attorney who helped mount the legal battle which led to Northup’s return to freedom in 1853. These descendants will share their ancestral information, including Waddill’s diary. The actors who portrayed Northup’s family in the movie will also attend the reception.

For media interviews or high-resolution images, please contact Mikel Pak, Loyola’s associate director of public affairs.

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