Special Performance to Feature World Premiere of New Song by Baltimore artist Wordsmith

Baltimore, MD – January 4, 2024 – The B&O Railroad Museum proudly presents an extraordinary tribute concert in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Freedom Seekers of the Underground Railroad performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) in the beautiful 1884 B&O Roundhouse. Scheduled for MLK Day on Monday, January 15, at 7:00 PM, the event promises an unprecedented fusion of history and music as part of the B&O Railroad Museum’s Underground Railroad programming and the BSO’s Symphony in the City Series.

This special performance will mark the world premiere of a new, original song, “Network to Freedom,” written by Wordsmith and commissioned by the BSO.  Wordsmith’s tribute song is a homage to the Freedom Seekers and directly inspired by the compelling narratives featured in the B&O Railroad Museum’s Underground Railroad exhibit. Designated as a National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Site since 2021, the museum unveiled its permanent “The Underground Railroad: Freedom Seekers on the B&O Railroad” exhibit in 2022.

Wordsmith’s powerful new work dives into the rich tapestry of American Railroading at the B&O. According to Wordsmith, the composition aims to “explore the impact of the B&O during the Civil War, its economic influence, and the roots of the Underground Railroad. Unearthing tales of resilience from historical figures like Henry Box Brown and William & Ellen Craft, the B&O Railroad holds a treasure trove of stories that have shaped our nation.”

“We could not be more honored to have our exhibit be the inspiration for Wordsmith’s original song and to have it debuted as tribute to Dr. King’s message of equality and unity,” said Kris Hoellen, Executive Director of the B&O Railroad Museum. “This will be a truly moving experience not to be missed.”

The concert will also feature selections by prominent Black composers, Florence Price, Duke Ellington, and Carlos Simon, alongside the world premiere of “Network to Freedom.”

“Over the past few years, the B&O Museum has made great strides in unearthing stories of free slaves passing through their historic grounds while revitalizing Mt. Claire Station; a site where freedom seekers made their way to freedom,” said the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Artistic Partner, Wordsmith. “I’m beyond proud to tell these stories along with the beginnings of the American railroad system with my BSO colleagues on such a monumental evening where we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

For the concert, Jeri Lynne Johnson will conduct the performance, joined by Wordsmith as the spoken word artist, with further vocalists Nazarene Maloney (soprano), Samone Scriber (soprano), Asia Haynie (mezzo-soprano), Jaillah Wehye (mezzo-soprano), Oguchi Ebunine (tenor), Darrin Scott (tenor), Dorian Forbes (baritone) and Cameron Potts (bass).

The program will include:

ELLINGTON (arr. Henderson, red. Blanchard) Three Black Kings
     III. Martin Luther King
BONDS Montgomery Variations
     I. Lament
VII. Benediction|
STILL Symphony No. 1, “Afro-American”
I. Longing: Moderato assai
PRICE Symphony No. 3
III. Juba: Allegro
WORDSMITH Network to Freedom (world premiere, BSO commission)

Don’t miss this uplifting performance, symbolizing Dr. King’s unwavering message of equality and unity. Tickets for this event are available for free at

For more information and updates, please visit B&O Railroad Museum Events and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Events

For media inquiries and interviews contact:


Tom Yorke
Chief Marketing Officer
B&O Railroad Museum


Whitney Clemmons Brown
Communications Director
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra