Backroads edited the summary of Sweeter than Birdsong Friday, August 31, 2012.
Kate Winter hopes to be the first woman graduate of Otterbein College, but is unable to speak through a presentation. She begins working on a musicale with Ben Hanby, who is struggling with the lyrics to a song called "Darling Nelly Gray". Ben and his family work with the Underground Railroad. Kate helps with it, and meets the real Nelly, her husband Frank, and their child. Nelly and her baby are captured, and Frank works to help them. Meanwhile, Kate is being courted by Frederick Jones, but it ends when they realize their views on abolition don't match. Ben takes a job as a substitute teacher, but is fired when he shares the "Darling Nelly Gray" song with the students. It is later revealed that Nelly and her baby have died. Ben proposes to Kate, but her mother will not hear of it and takes Kate to Philadelphia in order to make ammends with her own mother, during which her heart softens. Ben approaches Kate's father, who is a drunk. He says he is unworthy to approve the match, but asks Ben to take an apology to his wife and daughter. Ben meets with Mrs. Winter, who reveals she has purchased a wedding veil for Kate. Kate then attends a stage performance of "Uncle Tom's Cabin". Audience members become upset at the play's message and harass the actress. Kate begins singing "Darling Nelly Gray", which had since been published and risen to popularity, and the audience joins in.