The story of 250,000 orphans and unwanted children taken from the streets of New York between 1854 and 1929, put on trains and sent to every state in the continental United States will come to life on Tuesday, April 11, at 10:30 a.m. in the CCC Spencer/Rounds Theatre. The presentation by Phil Lancaster is comprised of original music, an audio-visual presentation of archival photographs and interviews with two surviving orphan train riders - a man who came to Berryville, Ark. and a woman who came to Greenville, Texas.
Lancaster was born in Texarkana, Ark., and studied art and music at L'Ecole De Beaux Arts in Angers, France. He became a member of a bluegrass band that toured throughout France and produced an album entitled "Bluegrass Oldies Ltd/Traveling Show." After returning to the U.S. Lancaster met three Arkansas musicians and the acoustic quartet "Still on the Hill" was formed in Fayetteville. They released their first CD in 1997, and the second in 2000. The group performed at national and international folk festivals.
Currently, Lancaster tours in France with Phillipe Charlot in the acoustic duo "Transatlantique." In 2007, Lancaster received an Arkansas Arts Council Fellowship in Music Composition. He is co-producer of the documentary film "Gospel, Biscuits and Gravy" about Ozark gospel singer Ernestine Shepherd and presenter of "Riders on the Orphan Train," the official outreach program for the National Orphan Train Complex.
The public is invited to the Tuesday humanities performances at CCC. The performances are free. For more information, call 620-251-7700, ext. 2166.