Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums General `Bell Stuff` FREEDOM WILL RING, July 13, Norwich, CT

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    • #10455

      Citizens of Norwich come together to honor the city’s role in the fight to end slavery, the first in a series of events, at 7 PM, July 13, at City Hall, Norwich, CT.

      Freedom Will Ring, a public informational gathering, will serve as the kick off for a number of events being planned citywide to honor and celebrate Norwich’s roll in the struggle to end slavery in America. This informational meeting will begin with the unveiling of a new portrait of Abraham Lincoln by artist Christopher Zhang to be displayed on the building’s second floor. Following the presentation, community leaders, dignitaries, invited guests and members of the public will gather in city council chambers as the Emancipation Proclamation Commemorative Committee shares plans for a one of a kind, “Emancipation Proclamation Bell”, to be cast and hung prominently in the city. Join us for this important event, at 7 PM on Wednesday, July 13, at Norwich City Hall.

      The people of Norwich have long cherished a special relationship with President Lincoln, who visited here in 1860. The city was a key manufacturer of arms during the Civil War, and Governor William A. Buckingham made his state war headquarters here.

      In the late 19th century, John D. Crocker, a gifted Norwich artist, painted the portrait of the late president, which hung in city hall until it was stolen in 1994. The missing painting was never recovered, and in 2010, the city decided to hold a contest to produce a new work to replace the original.

      In May of this year, artist Christopher Zhang’s Lincoln portrait was selected from sixty-three entries. Zhang grew up in Shanghai and was influenced by Russian, American and Western European masters who taught him how to, “color the soul of man”, while, “enabling the figure of man.” He is a Copley Master and member of the Copley Society of Boston, MA, artist member of The Connecticut Fine Arts Academy, and a past Director and Board Member of the Mystic Arts Center. His work is part of the permanent collection of the Lyman Allyn Museum of Art, New London, CT and the Sun City Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ. Mr. Zhang will be presented with his award at the July 13 ceremony.

      The Emancipation Proclamation Commemorative Committee formed in February of this year to plan the January 1, 2013 celebration. Representatives of the Norwich Historical Society, the Norwich Branch of the NAACP, the Norwich Area Clergy Association, Friends of the Norwich Bells, and the City of Norwich Historian, are among its members.

      The Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio will cast a 255-pound Emancipation Proclamation Bell to be permanently mounted in downtown Norwich. A tribute to Norwich’s commitment to “Liberty and Justice for All”, the bell and tower will cost $100,000 to cast and erect. Fundraising efforts are under way, and donations from philanthropic foundations, local businesses and the public are being actively sought.

      “This is truly a unique undertaking”, says Norwich City Historian Dale Plummer who sits on the EPCC. “One hundred fifty years from now, the bell will be rung and people will recall the legacy of Norwich as key in the effort that all people may be, “”forever free””.”

      According to Plummer, at the open of 1863, the bells throughout Norwich were rung continuously for one full hour to honor the emancipation of the slaves. Mayor James Lloyd Greene intended it to be the first public celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation in Connecticut.

      “We plan to reenact that very event on New Years Day, 2013”, says Kevin Harkins, President of Friends of the Norwich Bells. “Towards this end, the Verdin Company is offering to inspect the city’s many bells, free of charge, and make needed repairs at a reasonable cost”, says Harkins.

      Jim Verdin, president of the Verdin Company will be on hand for the July 13 public gathering, and will describe his company’s plans to cast the Emancipation Proclamation Bell right here in Norwich. The Verdin Company has been manufacturing bells, monuments and carillons since 1842, and has worked on several church bell towers in Norwich during that time.

      The architectural firm of Barun Basu Associates of New London has agreed to design the tower, which will house the, “Forever Free”, bell to be situated in the downtown section of Norwich.

      Ed Derr, Principal of Norwich’s Thames Rivers Academy will MC the evening, which will include the music of Tom Callinan, the state’s first official troubadour as appointed by the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. Callinan has written a song specifically for the July 13th event, which will also feature Abraham Lincoln portrayer Lewis Dube, as well as Richard Silocka, as Governor Buckingham.

      Attendees at the Freedom Will Ring gathering will receive informational packets to take home detailing plans for the Emancipation Proclamation Commemoration, and donations will be gratefully received at the event. Check should be made payable to, National NAACP, with the words, “E P Bell”, in the memo portion, and mailed to, P.O. Box 24, Norwich, CT. 06360. Refreshments will also be available.

      This public informational meeting forging efforts and friendships to honor Norwich’s role in the fight for freedom of all people will be televised live on Comcast Public Access Channel 14 throughout the Norwich area.

      For more information and to contact the Emancipation Proclamation Commemorative Committee, please call, 866-297-8521, or visit, “http://friendsofthenorwichbells.com

      Admin’s note: Dale Plummer, Kevin Harkins, and Jim Verdin are all members of the American Bell Association, International, Inc.

    • #12763


      JUNE 14-16 2012 , NORWICH, CT

      Here is the schedule for three days of events in Norwich, CT.
      surrounding the casting of The Norwich Freedom Bell.

      Norwich is located in New London County in southeastern Connecticut.
      The city is a one hour drive from major airports in the Hartford-Springfield area, (“BDL”), and Providence, Rhode Island, (“PBD”). Amtrak and Greyhound service is twenty minutes away, and it’s just over two hours to New York City and Boston.

      Hope You can Make It:
      Kevin Harkins

      Emancipation Proclamation Commemoration Committee http://www.norwichfreedombell.com



      Day One Thursday, June 14th Flag Day
      8:00 am – 8:30 am Howard T. Brown Park
      Arrival of the Verdin Company Mobile Foundry
      Patriot Guard Escort

      11:30 am – 1:30 pm Holiday Inn
      Freedom Will Ring Luncheon
      Featuring Rabbi Charles Arian
      Beth Jacob Synagoue

      5:00 pm – 8:30 pm Howard T. Brown Park
      Flag Day Ceremonies and Educational Events

      The Norwich Area Veterans Council (NAVC)
      5:30 pm Boy Scouts of America
      6:15 pm – 7:00 pm The National Sojourners
      7:15 pm – 7:45 pm Naval Reenactors
      8:05 pm – 8:20 pm Young Marines
      Sunset (approx. 8:24 pm) Retirement of First Flag

      6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Howard T. Brown Park
      Health Fair
      Sponsored by – WW Backus Hospital

      Day Two Friday, June 15th NativeHeritage Day

      10:00 am – 9:00 pm Howard T. Brown Park
      Health Fair
      Sponsored by – WW Backus Hospital

      10:00 am – 11:00 am Howard T. Brown Park
      Opening Ceremony of Native Heritage Day with
      Bronze Ingot Brigade with area students

      11:00 am – 5:00 pm Howard T. Brown Park

      Entertainment, Demonstrations and Educational
      Events by various local Native American Indian
      Tribes. Throughout the day the public can view the
      activities of the Verdin Mobile Foundry as it continues
      to prepare for the pouring of the bell later in the evening.

      11:00 am – 8:00 pm Howard Brown Park
      Amistad Tours
      Amistad America inc. Is a nonproft, owner and operator of the
      replica with a mission to teach the story and the lessons inherent
      in it, to provide opportunities to learn about the transatlantic
      slave trade to encourage respectful dialogue about history
      and race for a more just and equitable future.

      12:30 am – 2:30 pm Holiday Inn
      Cultural and Heritage Tourism Luncheon
      Keynote Speaker Christopher ‘Kip’ Bergstrom, Deputy
      Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Economic
      and Community Development
      2:00 pm and 5:00 pm Howard T. Brown Park
      -Students from the Native American Club
      Jordyn Brooks; Shylia Barnes; Keondre
      Britos-Sebastian; Nick Avalos; Dylan
      Brooks; Tonay Gooday
      -Native American Dancers
      -Display tables with Native American items
      -Display boards with Educational 3D Boards
      -Demonstration of Native American Games

      5:00 pm – 6:30 pm Howard T. Brown Park
      Opening Ceremony and Musical Performances
      5:00 pm Welcome
      5:05 pm Craig Edwards
      5:30 pm Jim Harkins
      6:00 pm Rose City Chorus
      6:20 pm Mayor Peter Nystrom
      6:23 pm Fr. Hugh James – Blessing of the Bell
      6:27 pm Amistad Bell Ringing
      6:30 pm Howard T. Brown Park

      The Bell Casting
      250lb Norwich Freedom Bell

      6:40 pm – 8:30 pm Howard T. Brown Park
      6:40 pm – 6:50 pm Rose City Chorus
      7:00 pm – 7:45 pm Tom Callinan
      Connecticut’s 1st Official State Troubadour
      7:45 pm – 8:30 Magpie
      Greg Artzner & Terry Leonino

      Day Three Saturday, June 16th
      Juneteenth Day

      9:00 am – 6:00 pm Howard T. Brown Park
      Health Fair
      Sponsored by – WW Backus Hospital

      10:00 am – 11:00 am Howard T. Brown Park

      Opening Ceremony of Juneteenth & Breakout of
      the 1st Bell to commemorate the 150th Anniversary
      Of the Emancipation Proclamation

      11:00 am – 6:00 pm Howard T. Brown Park
      Juneteenth Day Ceremonies and Events

      11:00 am – 6:00 pm Howard Brown Park
      Amistad Tours

      11:00 am – 2:30 pm Howard T. Brown Park
      Entertainment, Demonstrations and Educational
      Events by various local artists and groups.
      Throughout the day the public can view the activities
      of the Verdin Co as it polishes and prepares the bell to
      be rung later this evening.

      1:00 pm Howard T. Brown Park
      Walking Tour of African American Downtown history
      in Norwich

      2:30 am – 3:00 pm Howard T. Brown Park
      Juneteenth Awards Ceremony
      Presentation of the
      Annual Daniel Jenkins Memorial Award

      3:00 pm – 6:00 pm Howard T. Brown Park
      Musical Performance by Mind, Body and Soul

      5:45 pm –6:15 pm Howard T. Brown Park
      Parade to Present “The Norwich Freedom Bell”
      Starting at Howard T. Brown Park and ending
      at Norwich City Hall
      6:15 pm – 6:30 pm City Hall

      Cornerstone Laying Ceremony by the Prince Hall
      Grand Lodge, F&AM and The Grand Lodge of
      Connecticut AF&AM

      6:30 pm – 7:00 pm Howard T. Brown Park
      The Evans Memorial AME Zion Church
      Praise Team
      Songs of Spiritual Faith

      “Take The (SEAT) Bus to Freedom”?
      Getting to and from Brown Park for Freedom Weekend – South Eastern Area Transit – 860-886-2631
      The following buses will pick up and drop off passengers along Chelsae Harbor Drive adjacent to Brown Park outbound from the Inter
      modal Transportation Center, a couple of minutes past each hour, 8 AM to 7 PM, June 14, 15, and 16.
      Route No. 4 – Taftville, Occum, Greenville Bus Route No. 5 – Norwich Town Bus Route No. 9 – Jewett City Bus

      Encampments at Norwichtown Green
      June 15th – 17th

      Friday, June 15th Norwichtown Green
      Early evening encampments are set up
      Saturday, June 16th Norwichtown Green
      8:00 am –10:00 am – Camp Life of the Union Soldier
      10:00 am – Civil War Submarines – Geoff Mclean
      11:00 am – Drill and firing demonstration
      12:00 pm – Camp life of the Union Soldier
      1:00 pm – The Naval War 150 years ago – Geoff Mclean
      2:00 pm – Drill and firing demonstration
      3:00 pm – Camp life of the Union Soldier
      Sunday, June 17th Norwichtown Green
      Reenactors continue encampment and break-down later in the day.

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