2004 Summer Season

Litchfield, CT -- Contact: Janet L. Serra For Immediate Release 860-567-4506 lhcvbnwct@aol.com She was one of the greatest contraltos of the twentieth century, the woman who broke the color barrier at the Metropolitan Opera. She is remembered by many as a courageous role model for her outdoor concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after she was denied a performance at Constitution Hall because of her color, an event that drew 75,000 people. Now Marian Anderson's inspiring story will be told to future generations. After a long fight for survival, her studio in Danbury, Connecticut has been restored and was opened to the public at a celebration on June 13, 2004, hosted by the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and the Danbury Museum and Historical Society. The exhibits will tell of the extraordinary accomplishments of a girl born in 1897, who was denied even an audition at a music school because of her color, and who persevered to become a role model for her race and her nation. The Connecticut General Assembly made the farm one of the prime sites on its Freedom Trail commemorating the struggle of African Americans. With a curved ceiling, mini-kitchen, bath and fireplace, the handsome studio was a rehearsal place as well as a private retreat for the singer. It was designed by her architect husband, Orpheus Fisher, when the couple purchased a 48-acre farm in 1943 as a country house. Known as Marianna Farm, it became Anderson's full time home from the time she retired from the stage in 1965, remaining even after her husband's death in 1986 until shortly before her death in 1993. Marian Anderson was active in the Danbury community and is warmly remembered by residents for her support of local music programs. After Anderson's death, when developers proposed to subdivide the property and build a road going directly through the studio's location, the community was alarmed. In 1996 the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation designated the structure as one of the state's most important threatened historic places. The developers agreed to donate the building to the Danbury Museum and Historical Society, but funds were needed to move it to a safe location. In 1999 it was removed to the Museum campus on Danbury's Main Street. Following additional fund raising efforts, the studio has been restored as a tangible link to a remarkable woman. For more information on the studio and other attractions in Danbury, and a new free guide to the region, including lodging, attractions and maps, contact the Northwest Connecticut Convention & Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 968, Litchfield CT 06759-0968, 800-663-1273, or visit their web site at Northwest Connecticut