Press Release: LD presents free community events May 7-13, 2024


(Cleveland) – Les Délices, Cleveland’s acclaimed early music ensemble, shines a bright light on the often-overlooked legacy of Charles Ignatius Sancho (pictured left) with a series of free events May 7-13, 2024. Charles Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780) was an abolitionist, musician, writer, and the first British man of African descent to vote in a general election. This free multi-event series promises an immersive journey into Black British culture and early music, fostering inclusivity and sparking conversations about identity and artistic expression. No tickets or registration are required to attend any of the events.


This exciting series offers multiple access points:
  • Free events and an online release ensure inclusivity and accessibility for all.
  • Diverse perspectives from scholars, artists, and student musicians enrich the experience.
  • Engaging formats like discussions, performances, and multimedia presentations cater to different learning styles.

Join Les Délices this May as we celebrate Charles Ignatius Sancho, discovering the richness of Black voices in early music, and forging a more inclusive dialogue about history and artistry.


May 7 & 11: Witness the Vibrant Sounds of Sancho’s London

In free performances at Rocky River Public Library, 1600 Hampton Rd, Rocky River (May 7th at 7pm) and Cleveland Public Library’s Main Branch, 325 Superior Ave, Cleveland (May 11th at 2pm), LD performs music composed and published by Sancho himself as well as that of his contemporaries.

Les Délices Artistic Director Debra Nagy commented, “Sancho’s surviving music includes a book of songs as well as minuets for the ballroom and country dances from the alehouse. Though the name Sancho is well known to literary and art historians, his music is only beginning to get the attention it deserves. Not only is it important to recognize Sancho’s contributions in the field of music, but – simply put – his music is a joy to play and to listen to. It’s full of life and rife with catchy tunes!”

Soprano Andréa Walker (pictured left) joins Les Délices’ ensemble of baroque oboe, violin, cello, and harpsichord for “Sounds of Sancho’s London,” featuring parlor songs inspired by Shakespeare, Scottish reels and country dances, popular melodies of the day by Thomas Arne, plus selections from George Frederick Handel’s famous Music for the Royal Fireworks.


May 8: Explore Sancho’s Inspiring Legacy at Loganberry Books

Les Délices puts Sancho in a broader context on May 8th at 7pm with a panel discussion framed by musical performances inside Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd, Cleveland). This event presents a valuable opportunity for the local community to engage in insightful dialogue, gain deeper historical understanding, and experience the transformative power of music.

Featured speakers include Drs. Rachel Carnell and Adrienne Gosselin from Cleveland State University. Dr. Carnell is Dean and Mandel Chair in Humanities at CSU, and an expert on 18th century French and British secret histories. Dr. Gosselin teaches in English and Africana has parallel expertise in 18th century American novels and diaries by Black authors. Together, Carnell and Gosselin will offer a nuanced perspective on the social, cultural, and artistic experiences of Black individuals in the 18th-century as they put Charles Ignatius Sancho’s published letters (1782) in context with the work of other historical Black authors on both sides of the Atlantic and recent historical novels that offer fresh insights into Black life and culture in 18th and 19th century Britain. In particular, they’ll discuss Paterson Joseph’s “captivating, and haunting” historical novel The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho (released 2022)Copies of Joseph’s novel will be available for purchase.

The discussion will be interspersed with performances of Sancho’s music by members of Les Délices as well as talented student performers from Cleveland’s Contemporary Youth Orchestra, who will perform excerpts from Jonathan Woody’s “Suite for Strings,” a modern work that draws inspiration from musical themes penned by Sancho. This contemporary composition promises a powerful synthesis of past and present, offering a unique lens through which to appreciate Sancho’s artistry and enduring legacy.

May 13: Celebrate Sancho’s Songbook in an Accessible Online Release

The series culminates with the digital release of a Sancho-focused SalonEra episode on May 13th titled Sancho’s Songbook. The episode features insights from countertenor Reginald Mobley, (pictured left) who is on a mission to promote the music of Black British musicians of the past; musicologist Dr. Rebecca Cypess, who advocates an interdisciplinary approach in her research and teaching of music from the 17th and 18th centuries; and Dr. Nicole Aljoe, Professor of English and Africana Studies at Northeastern University whose digital humanities project “Mapping Black London” enables users to pinpoint various places associated with Black Londoners, creating more vivid and dynamic portraits of the diversity of their lives and a more complex picture of British social history. Alongside conversations with these brilliant guests, audiences will enjoy musical performances of music by Charles Ignatius Sancho by Black musicians bass-baritone Jonathan Woody and soprano Sonya Headlam. The episode will stream on Les Délices’ YouTube Channel and via the SalonEra podcast (available on all streaming platforms). SalonEra is a webseries and podcast from Les Délices that highlights a diverse range of topics and working musicians for a global audience of early music enthusiasts.


TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2024, 7:00 PM
Sounds Of Sancho’s London 
Free concert by Les Délices
Tune in River Series
Rocky River Public Library
1600 Hampton Rd. Rocky River, OH 44116

WEDNESDAY, MAY 8, 2024, 7:00 PM
Sancho’s London: Panel Discussion & Performance
Free event at Loganberry Books
Loganberry Books13015 Larchmere Blvd, Cleveland 44120

SATURDAY, MAY 11, 2024, 2:00 PM
Sounds of Sancho’s London
Free concert by Les Délices presented by
Music at Main
Cleveland Public Library, Main Branch (Popular Department, 1st floor)
325 Superior Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114

MONDAY, MAY 13, 2024
Digital Release – podcast & video episode
SalonEra: Sancho’s Songbook

For a detailed schedule of events, please visit our website.