URI to showcase songs of Poet Robert Burns, Oct. 16

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KINGSTON, R.I. – September 28, 2011–On New Year’s Eve, it’s fairly customary, whether or not you take a cup of kindness yet, to sing Auld Lang Syne.

The 18th century poet and lyricist Robert Burns, of course, composed the song. But many people don’t know that Burns was a prolific songwriter, composing more than 300 songs during his lifetime. Even today, Burns is often referred to as the National Bard of Scotland.

People interested in hearing more Burns’ songs are invited to a special event, “An Introduction to the Songs of Robert Burns,” on Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. in the Hoffmann Room, Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Rd., Kingston. Sponsored by the University of Rhode Island English Department, the program is free and open to the public.

Susan Rodgers, adjunct instructor of voice at Providence College and Rhode Island College, and soprano Margaret Frazier, a lecturer at URI will perform.

Rodgers co-directs Rhode Island College’s opera workshop. She has sung leading roles with numerous opera companies including the Goldovsky Opera, the Pittsburgh Opera Theater, the Baton Rouge Opera, and the Washington Civic Opera. She has appeared as soloist with the Savannah Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Princeton Pro Musica and others. She is also contralto soloist at St. Martin’s Church in Providence.

Frazier has collaborated and toured with the Boston Camerata since 1990 and has recorded five CD’s with that chamber vocal ensemble. This spring, she performed with the Camerata in Finland, the Netherlands, France, and Germany. She will perform again with them in Belgium and France this November. She is an active member and former president and governor of the R.I. Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

URI students Rebecca Cunha, a soprano, and Killian Mooney, a tenor, will also perform. Refreshments, including Scottish shortbread, will follow the concert.

The Allan MacLaine Memorial Fund funds the event. MacLaine was a faculty member in the URI English Department, a Burns scholar, and a URI administrator. The fund, created by his friends and family in his memory, has also purchased CDs of Burns and other Scottish songs for use by the URI Music Department and the URI English Department.

For more information, contact URI English Professor Emerita Marilyn Malina, mmalina@uri.edu.