University of Pittsburgh
January 6, 2005

Pitt Commemorates Stephen Foster Day Jan. 13


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—The life of Pittsburgh native Stephen Foster will be celebrated Thursday, Jan. 13, at two locations, in an annual tribute to the country's first professional songwriter. All events are free and open to the public.

The date marks the 141st anniversary of Foster's death. He was born in Lawrenceville on July 4, 1826, and became 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, Department of Theatre Arts, and 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.


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 Mariana Whitmer, project coordinator for the Center for American

Music; and

• Performance and group sing-a-long led by guitarist and Pitt faculty

member Joe Negri.

Immediately following the program, at approximately 1 p.m., tours of the Foster memorial and its theaters will be conducted. The Foster museum, open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be open for self-guided tours. Its 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. For more information, call 412-624-4100.