Synclaire Rowen hasn’t seen “Hamilton” yet, but she knows she’s going to enjoy every minute.
“I would love to see it, and I’m going to, but the fact that it happened, that hip-hop and rap worked for a general audience is great,” said Rowen, a senior at Saratoga Springs High School. “I have a few musical theater friends who loved the play, and I’ve heard some of the songs so I know I’m going to love it.”
Before she sees “Hamilton,” Rowen has some hip-hop and rap songs of her own she’ll be performing between 5-7:30 p.m. on Friday as part of the Skidmore College Arts Fest, “Dear America: History Meets Hip-Hop at the Tang Museum.”
The event offers a series of eclectic entertainment celebrating both history and the arts, and along with Rowen and two of her fellow Saratoga High students, Nick Lahut and Daniel Irizarry, performers will include musician/artist Brian Dewan and a host of local re-enactors.
“We’re going to do a 12-minute set of hip-hop and rap, expressing our feelings about what’s going on in this country,” said Rowen. “If we could write a letter to the country, ‘Dear America,’ this is what we would say. It’s going to be feel-good rap.”
‘Dear America: History Meets Hip-Hop at the Tang Museum’
WHAT: Saratoga Arts Fest
WHERE: Tang Museum, Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs
WHEN: 5-7:30 p.m. Friday
HOW MUCH: Free
MORE INFO: www.saratogaartsfest.org
Skidmore is billing “Dear America” as a family-friendly event, which will be held within the exhibit space for “A More Perfect Union,” a display of 50 flags from 50 states by artist Mel Ziegler.
“The success of the Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’ is a great example of how genres and themes can be combined in new and exciting ways,” said Maureen Sager, executive producer of the event. “It helps us reconsider our view of history.”
Rowen is all in on combining genres and themes.
“I’m very interested in creating things as a whole, not only using music,” she said. “I’m looking to expand into other things and other arts fields, like using video, photographs, fashion. I’m trying to grab as many creative things as I can.”
She says the performance she and her two friends have prepared for Skidmore’s event will speak to more than just their generation.
“We’re aiming it at a pretty broad audience,” she said. “It’s history meeting hip-hop. We’re shedding light on our generation to older generations who might not know that much about us. We are involved. We are aware. We just may experience that in a different way than an older generation.”
Rowen hopes to go to college in New York City next year and major in music production and minor in music business.
“I’m currently in the process of applying to schools, but I know I want to study music in college and I hope to attend school in New York City,” she said. “That’s the hot spot for upcoming musical artists and it’s one of my favorite places. I definitely would love to go there.”
When she isn’t performing on Friday night, Rowen will be intently watching Dewan, a Catskill-based multi-media artist who not only plays multiple instruments, but has various audio-visual aspects in his act.
Dee Sarno, chair of the Saratoga Arts Fest board, said the event will have something for everyone.
“Our Arts Fest Friday events bring together audiences, performers and artists of all ages and backgrounds,” said Sarno. “If you’re a history buff or not, everyone will enjoy exploring history in a unique and creative way, through the arts.”
Cliff Oliver will perform as freed slave Solomon Northup, while other historical characters expected to make an appearance are Sojourner Truth, Mark Twain, Booker T. Washington and Susan B. Anthony.
Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or firstname.lastname@example.org.