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Carnegie Library set for 'Lincoln Portrait' concert

| Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, 1:39 a.m.
Duquesne University’s Wind Symphony will perform Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall on Feb. 19, 2018, as part of its Presidents Day programming.
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Duquesne University’s Wind Symphony will perform Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall on Feb. 19, 2018, as part of its Presidents Day programming.
Christopher B. Howard, president of Robert Morris University in Moon
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Christopher B. Howard, president of Robert Morris University in Moon
This portrait of President Abe Lincoln is among a rare collection of 100 portraits at the Lincoln Gallery at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie.
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This portrait of President Abe Lincoln is among a rare collection of 100 portraits at the Lincoln Gallery at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie.

For Maggie Forbes, the Presidents Day concert at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall is special.

“I don't think there is any Presidents Day programming like the Carnegie Carnegie's,” said Forbes, the executive director of the landmark building overlooking Downtown Carnegie. “It is a musical celebration. Not too many organizations have an acoustically superb music hall with lovely historic character that is also intimate.” (The music hall attached to the library holds 400 seats.)

The library and music hall will host its fourth annual presentation of Aaron Copland's “Lincoln Portrait” — aptly set for Presidents Day on Feb. 19. The symphonic production will be narrated by Christopher Howard, the president of Robert Morris University in Moon. Performed by Duquesne University's Wind Symphony, Copland's score was created in 1942 and pays homage to some of Lincoln's most notable talks and addresses.

Howard is the university's eighth president and is among the youngest people to lead a college.

“The library and music hall has a different narrator and a different orchestra every year,” Forbes said. “That makes it a fresh program each year that is anchored by the Copland (piece).”

Forbes noted the library and music hall's rare Captain Thomas Espy Post of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) room, with unique Civil War items.

“Once there were 7,000 (GAR posts) from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon,” Forbes said.

Today, maybe a half-dozen remain. And even rarer is that Carnegie's is the most intact GAR post in the country.

Concert attendees will have access to the Civil War room and will be able to view the library's Lincoln Gallery, which features a rare collection of 100 photographs of Abraham Lincoln.

“Normally, when people think of Presidents Day, they think ‘mattress sale' or some other type of retail sale,” Forbes said. “This is so much more than that.”

Christina Sheleheda is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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