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Chamber Singers, Chorus to present 'A Celebration of "CB" ' concert
3/24/09

Members of the Alfred University Chamber Singers and Chorus will present “A Celebration of ‘CB’ ” on Saturday, April 4, at 8 p.m. in the Alfred Seventh Day Baptist Church, 5 Church St.

The program will pay tribute to Carol “CB” Burdick, longtime AU faculty member and village resident who died last spring surrounded by family in her beloved “Pond House” in Alfred Station.

The evening’s presentations will feature choral and solo works based on CB’s poetry, several reflective choral pieces, and selected readings of her writing. Admission is free.

The Chamber Singers will perform “Three Songs for CB” by Jeff Ryan, a Canadian composer currently in residence with the Vancouver, British Columbia Symphony, who worked with settings of CB’s poetry that were commissioned by the group. The settings feature a “progressive accompaniment.” The first song, “After Storm,” is scored for a cappella choir, the second, “Angeline on Ossabaw,” for choir and solo cello, and the third, “Discards,” for choir and string quartet.

Rintara Wada of Olean, a music teacher and member of the Alfred Trio, will be the cello soloist. String quartet members include Jorg Pomplun, a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching who he is teaching German language and culture courses at AU; Leah Crosby of Alfred, a sophomore at Alfred-Almond Central School; Deborah Brown of Alfred; and Stephen Pfeiffer, an Alfred University alumnus now working in Olean.

The AU Chorus will perform a movement from John Rutter’s “Requiem” (which CB performed with the AU Chorus in 1995) and a piece by Randall Stroop entitled “Omnia Sol.” Soprano Dr. Luanne Crosby, Alfred University professor of voice and chorus, and pianist Laurel Buckwalter, AU carilloneur and technical specialist in music, will perform “Inscapes,” four poems by CB set to music.

CB’s professional life included teaching elementary students in Hamburg, NY and high school students at Yarmouth High School, Maine, and in Oswego, NY. She was co-director of the Ossabaw Island Project, a writers and artists colony off the coast of Savannah, GA, in the 1980’s.

She began her career at Alfred University as an instructor in English in the late ’70’s and continued working through the fall semester of 2007. While on campus she founded and directed “Summer Place” at Alfred University, a colony for writers and artists, and developed “A Place in the Universe,” a course focused on the study of environmental literature.

CB received numerous honors and awards at Alfred University including the Excellence in Teaching Award in 1988 and 1996, the Faculty Friend of the Alfred Alumni Association in 1994, the Omicron Delta Kappa Outstanding Faculty Leader Award in 1998, the Honorary Alumna Award in 1999, and the Abigail Allen Award in 1999.

CB’s community involvement included writing, producing, and acting in many “Wee Playhouse” and other theater productions, as well as writing and appearing in her one-woman, first-person show, “Abigail Allan of Alfred.”

CB began her literary career at the age of 16, writing reviews of the Summer Stock Theatre in Westerly, RI. She authored four books and numerous freelance articles on a variety of topics including travel. Her work was published by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Readers’ Digest, Down East Magazine, and The Alfred Sun.

Dr. Benjamin Howard, professor emeritus of English at Alfred University, said, “CB spoke from a moral center. As a writer, she brought an authentic, open-hearted presence to whatever she encountered. As a teacher of writing, she demanded the familiar virtues of good prose: concreteness, succinctness, and precision. But she also demanded integrity of thought and feeling. In return, she offered an empathic but objective attention that fostered the very qualities she sought.”