For immediate release
Contact Maggie Forbes
The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall is rolling out the figurative red carpet for a Pittsburgh movie premiere on Saturday, November 27th. “The Angel of Marye’s Heights,” tells the compelling story of Richard Rowland Kirkland, a Confederate soldier who gave succor to the enemy – Union wounded and dying in the devastating wake of the Battle of Fredericksburg.
The documentary will be introduced by Michael Aubrecht, one of the film’s writers and producers. Though he lives in Fredericksburg now, Aubrecht was born and raised in Green Tree.
The film, and the full day of programming that precedes its premiere, is intended to put the spotlight on the Library & Music Hall’s rare Civil War room: the Captain Thomas Espy Post No. 153 of the Grand Army of the Republic.
The Espy Post has been documented by scholars as probably the most intact GAR post in the country. Civil War veterans met from 1906 until the 1930s in a second floor room of the Library that they custom-furnished as “Memorial Hall.”
Locked away and forgotten for nearly 50 years, the Espy Post was painstakingly restored and re-opened last February, on the 201st anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The ACFL&MH has been amazed and gratified by the response to the room’s restoration. The story made national news and visitors have come from far and wide to see it.
“On a single day this summer, visitors came from Austin, TX; Wisconsin; Albany, NY; New Jersey; Oil City and Florida,” enthuses ACFL&MH executive director Maggie Forbes. “The Espy Post is unequivocally a national treasure.”
However, Forbes and library director Diane Klinefelter frequently run into people from Carnegie, Scott, Mt. Lebanon, Bridgeville – throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area – who are either unaware of the Post, or who have yet to visit. “We want to give people a reason to visit now,” explains Klinefelter.
“Right in Our Own Back Yards” is a full day of programming designed to do just that. The ACFL&MH is offering not only expanded tours of the Espy Post, but behind the scenes tours of its entire historic landmark facility on Thanksgiving Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The day’s programming is made possible through the support of Northwest Savings Bank.
“On Thursday people eat; on Friday people shop; on Saturday they are looking for something to do with out of town family and friends. We want them to come here!” says Forbes. The Espy Post guest book shows that the Espy Post attracts a national audience. However, the whole building is historically rich and architecturally significant. On November 27, the ACFL&MH will take people into the Music Hall, backstage, into the dressing rooms, into the old gymnasium.
The Library & Music Hall had already planned this special day of Civil War-based programming when filmmaker Michael Aubrecht contacted Ms. Forbes, looking for a venue to show “The Angel of Marye’s Heights.”
“The Angel of Marye’s Heights” goes well beyond the story of a young Confederate infantry sergeant from South Carolina. It also documents the courage and tenacity of the Federal troops who participated in the doomed assault at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Some of these men were volunteers from Pittsburgh who may have very well shared Richard Kirkland’s canteen.
Michael Aubrecht explains how this story has gone full circle. “If you climb to the top of Marye’s Heights today you will find the Fredericksburg National Cemetery. In the center stands the Pennsylvania Monument which pays tribute to the 123rd PA Regiment Volunteers who were mustered out of Allegheny County.” He appreciates the connections with the Espy Post. “As this statue keeps the memory of these men alive, so too does the Espy Post. Ironically,” adds the Green Tree native, “the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall is ‘in my own backyard.’ What better place to share this remarkable story?”
“The Angel of Marye’s Heights” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. A dessert reception follows the half hour documentary, along with conversation with Mr. Aubrecht and tours of the Espy Post.
Tours of the Espy Post and Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall are free and open to the public from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The ACFL&MH is also showcasing photographs of the Library & Music Hall and of Carnegie itself by artist Bernadette Kazmarski [who designed this event's promo postcard.] Light refreshments and Carnegie Carnegie merchandise will be on sale.
Tickets to “The Angel of Marye’s Heights” and the dessert reception are $10. Tickets are available at the Library circulation desk or at www.carnegiecarnegie.org.
For more information on “The Angel of Marye’s Heights” visit www.theangelmovie.com. Michael Aubrecht may be reached at email@example.com.