Foster's music featured at Pittsburgh cemetery

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Allegheny Cemetery once again will be the site of a memorial service to remember Lawrenceville-born composer Stephen Foster.

The free program, open to the public, will begin at 11 a.m. today in the Main Chapel of the Temple of Memories. The cemetery where Foster is buried is at 4715 Penn Ave. in the city's Lawrenceville neighborhood.

Students from St. Raphael School in Morningside and jazz guitarist Joe Negri will perform as part of the tribute that marks the 150th anniversary of Foster's death on Jan. 13, 1864. Today's event is co-sponsored by the Allegheny Cemetery Historical Association and the University of Pittsburgh's Center for American Music.

Deane L. Root, professor of music and director of the center, will talk about Foster's place in musical history and accompany the musicians. James Wudarczyk, author of multiple books and articles about Lawrenceville and Pittsburgh history, will discuss Foster's life and legacy.

City Councilwoman Deb Gross, who represents the district where the cemetery is located, will read the proclamation making Jan. 13 Stephen C. Foster Day in Pittsburgh.

Foster is interred at Allegheny Cemetery's Section 21, Lot 30-31.

Allegheny Cemetery has been holding memorial services in Foster's memory since at least 1923, according to general manager Thomas J. Staresinic.

For more information about the event, call 412-325-1948, or send an e-mail to tstaresinic@alleghenycemetery.com. The cemetery website is www.alleghenycemetery.com.

Pitt's Center for American Music also operates the Stephen Foster Memorial Museum at the base of the Cathedral of Learning in Oakland.

The museum is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday during the academic year. The chapel-like exhibit area's stained-glass windows feature characters from Foster songs. Charles Connick designed the windows.

Museum displays deal with the composer's life and the different types of music he produced. Items on display include a piano owned by the composer. A sound system plays recordings of some of Foster's songs in a variety of styles.

Another exhibit describes life in Pittsburgh during Foster's lifetime.

Admission is free, and the museum tour is self-guided.

More information is available by calling 412-624-4100 or sending an email to amerimus@pitt.edu.


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