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Opera; Lectures; Church, Cemetery, Garden Tours –
ABBEVILLE, S.C. – Abbeville will celebrate its French heritage April 19-21 with the first Abbeville French Heritage Festival, featuring a piano concert in Abbeville’s historic Trinity Episcopal Church, an original opera at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and an antique and art show at the historic Livery Stable.
Friends of Trinity Abbeville, a non-profit organization dedicated to preservation and restoration of Trinity Episcopal Church, is sponsoring the three-day event. The festival will culminate with a concert of French music in Trinity Episcopal Church by renowned pianist Ella Ann Lee Holding at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 21. First Citizens Bank will co-sponsor the concert by Dr. Holding, who studied at Yale University, Julliard School of Music, and under a Fulbright Scholarship at the Royal School of Music in London.
The original one-act opera, “Joan of Arc in Heaven’s Anteroom,” will be performed on Saturday, April 20, at 7 p.m. in the Parish Hall of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Earlier festival events will include the antique and art show from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Livery Stable, and tours of the McGowan-Barksdale Home,, the Burt-Stark House, the Abbeville Museum, and Abbeville’s historic churches, cemeteries, and gardens.
These events are all free to the public, but there will also be French wine-tasting April 19 at the BerniBrook Inn, for which 75 tickets will be sold for $25 each.
Abbeville’s historic Opera House will be presenting “Becky’s New Car” that weekend, with Friday evening and Saturday matinee and evening performances.
Descendants of South Carolina’s French Huguenots will be honored at a reception in the McGowan-Barksdale Home and a presentation by scholars on the area’s French heritage at the Greater Abbeville Chamber of Commerce. The Rev. Dr. Riley Covin will speak on the Huguenot church during the 11 a.m. Morning Prayer service April 21 in Trinity Episcopal Church.
Abbeville County has been rich in history since its settlement by Scots-Irish and French Huguenot settlers in the eighteenth century. Early settler Johannes de la Howe named Abbeville after his native city in France, and the town is also known as the site of Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ last war cabinet meeting in the Burt-Stark House. The county includes numerous sites in SC Heritage Corridor Region II.
Cynthia Jefferies, senior warden of Trinity Episcopal Church, is chair of the festival. Festival headquarters is in the Greater Abbeville Chamber of Commerce. For further information, email www.abbevillefrenchheritagefestival.com or call 864-942-2850 or 864-366-4600.