University of Pittsburgh
December 18, 2003

Pitt Commemorates Stephen Foster Day Jan. 13


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—The life of Pittsburgh native Stephen Foster will be celebrated Tuesday, Jan. 13 at two locations, in an annual tribute to the country's first professional songwriter. The date marks the 140th anniversary of Foster's death.

Foster was born in Lawrenceville on July 4, 1826, and went on to become a world-renowned songwriter, portraying life in mid-19th century America through such legendary compositions as "Old Folks at Home," "Oh! Susannah," "Camptown Races," and "Beautiful Dreamer." His music is still widely used in television and films. Foster died at age 37 and is buried in Allegheny Cemetery. The following events are sponsored by Pitt's Center for American Music and Department of Theatre Arts as well as the Allegheny Cemetery Association.

10 a.m. Temple of Memories Mausoleum, Allegheny Cemetery,

4715 Penn Ave., Lawrenceville:

• Remarks by Tom Starsenic, superintendent of Allegheny Cemetery;

• Medley of Foster songs performed by the St. John Neumann School

Choir, Lawrenceville;

• Remarks by Jacqueline Longmore, Lawrenceville Historical Society;

• Remarks by Kathryn Miller Haines, associate director, Pitt's Center for

American Music;

• Remarks by Teruko Shiono, representative of International Women's

Association of Pittsburgh; and

• Placing of wreaths at the Foster gravesite.

Noon Charity Randall Theatre, Stephen Foster Memorial, University of

Pittsburgh, 4301 Forbes Ave., Oakland:

• Music by the Stephen Foster Chorus of Stephen Collins Foster

School, Mt. Lebanon;

• Remarks by Deane Root, director, Pitt's Center for American Music; and

• Performance and group sing-a-long led by guitarist Joe Negri.

Following the program and up until 4 p.m., informal tours will be given on the half-hour by staff and students in Pitt's Department of Theatre Arts. Tour guides will provide information on the Foster museum and library as well as the restoration of the Stephen Foster Memorial, including its historic architectural features and performance spaces.

The Foster archives contains a wide assortment of the composer's manuscripts, photographs, first editions of sheet music, rare books, letters, and personal possessions, including his flute, a sketchbook, and the change purse he was carrying when he died.