University of Pittsburgh
June 26, 2002

July 4 Celebration at Stephen Foster Gravesite Marks 176th Anniversary of Foster's Birth


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

June 26, 2002

PITTSBURGH A wreath will be laid at the grave of Stephen Collins Foster in Allegheny Cemetery, 4374 Butler Street, at 10 a.m. July 4, the 176th anniversary of the composer's birth. The wreath, donated by the University of Pittsburgh's Center for American Music, will be placed at the gravesite by Jacquelyn Longmore of the Lawrenceville Historical Society.

The program will include remarks by Jean Thomas, former artistic director of Dear Friends, a professional American music ensemble which was once based at the University of Pittsburgh, which houses in its Stephen Foster memorial the world's largest collection of Foster materials. Reverend Ralph Hill, pastor of the Greater Emmanuel Methodist Church in Aliquippa, Pa., also will make comments.

Foster musical selections, including "Old Folks at Home," "Gentle Annie," and "Nelly Bly," will be performed by Home Front, a group specializing in American popular music from the Civil War era. Home Front's Tom Crytzer, guitarist and vocalist, and Chuck Krepley, violinist, banjo player and vocalist, will be joined by banjo player Greg Adams and guest vocalist David Hodge.

Foster was born in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh and went on to become America's first professional songwriter. He died in New York City at the age of 37.