BSC Office of Communications

News from the Hilltop

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2011

Birmingham-Southern College to host touring exhibit celebrating the lives and works of great Jewish American composers

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Charles Andrew Rush/N.E. Miles Library at Birmingham-Southern will host the new touring exhibit “A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, 1910-1965” from Sept. 15 through Oct. 21.

The partnership of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart lasted for 24 years and produced "The Lady is a Tramp," "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered," "Where or When," and "My Heart Stood Still," among other jazz and cabaret standards.
The partnership of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart lasted for 24
years and produced "The Lady is a Tramp," "Bewitched, Bothered,
and Bewildered," "Where or When," and "My Heart Stood Still,"
among other jazz and cabaret standards.

The free exhibit is composed of attractive, freestanding panels featuring archival photographs of Jewish songwriters and reproductions of their scores. The collection is curated by David Lehman, who also wrote a book on the topic.

“A Fine Romance” illustrates the story of the many iconic Jewish composers, such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, and George Gershwin, who helped create the great American songbook from 1910-1965. The best composers of this period combined a genius for melody and a talent for finding the perfect words. A large number of them were Jewish—from families that had immigrated to America in the 1800s or had fled persecution in Europe.

The BSC library is among 55 sites across the country and only two in Alabama selected to host the exhibit.

There will be an opening program on Sept. 15 at 11 a.m. in the Hill Recital Hall on campus, followed by lunch and a viewing of the exhibit in the BSC library. The opening will feature a lecture and performance, connecting many Tin Pan Alley songs to their roots in Jewish musical tradition, by Dr. Lester Seigel, Joseph Hugh Thomas Professor of Music at Birmingham-Southern. Transportation from the Hill Recital Hall to the library will be provided.

Another free planned activity to complement the exhibit is a film-screening and presentation entitled “Whoever You Are, I Love You: ‘Love Me Tonight’ and the Integrated Musical.” “Love me Tonight”is a 1932 musical comedy featuring songs composed by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart.The film will be shown Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Norton Campus Center Theatre. Dr. David Resha, BSC assistant professor of media and film studies, will introduce the film and lead a discussion afterward.

“We are pleased that our library was chosen as a site for this exhibit about a fascinating period of American popular music history,” said Dr. Charlotte Ford, associate professor and director of the BSC library. “An exhibit that focuses on these great composers is a natural fit for BSC, which has long attracted the campus community and the general public with its history of fine musical productions. It also gives our library an opportunity to highlight some of its specialized collections in Judaic studies.”

“A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, 1910-1965” was developed by Nextbook Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Jewish literature, culture, and ideas, and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The national tour of the exhibit has been made possible by grants from the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the Righteous Persons Foundation, the David Berg Foundation, and an anonymous donor, with additional support from “Tablet Magazine: A New Read on Jewish Life” and the Seymour Gitenstein Endowment in Judaic Studies.

For further exhibit and program information, contact Ford at 205/226-4742 or cford@bsc.edu.
Regular library hours of operation are: Monday through Thursday—8 a.m. to midnight; Friday–8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday—9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday—2 p.m. to midnight. Click here for more details about the event.

Close Window