Stephen Foster Memorial Day:
The Stephen Foster Memorial Day is observed annually on January 13th to remember the life and contributions of one of the greatest and first songwriters of America.
|2021||13th January||Wednesday||United States|
|2022||13th January||Thursday||United States|
|2023||13th January||Friday||United States|
Why Stephen Foster Memorial Day?
It takes a lot of courage to venture into the unknown and make a name for your own. Stephen Collins Foster, known as the ‘Father Of American Music’ is one such musician. Born on July 4th,1826 Stephen Collins completed his formal education in Pennsylvania and Athens where he performed his first composition. Without any formal music training, Foster taught himself to play many instruments. He received some training from a German composer, Henry Kleber. Growing up in a city with a large European immigrant population, Foster was influenced by German, Italian, Scottish and Irish music.
He wrote the famous song “Oh Susannah” while he worked as a bookkeeper in Cincinnati. Foster’s compositions reflected a combination of minstrel and parlor music with a southern feel. Many of his songs were about the African-American culture and the issues that arose in a society that held on to slavery. . He decided to avoid offensive lyrics in his composition which was common in the minstrel genre as he wanted to create a refined style. The majority of his popular songs were composed after landing a contract with Christy Minstrels. Foster was then trying to make a living out of songwriting, an art that was not even considered as an occupation in his time. He had also written hymns and composed numerous instrumentals.
His contracts with Firth, Pond, and Company did not yield him much profit as he struggled to provide for his family. Since the composer and copyright legalities were limited during his time many of his songs were tweaked and published by competitors without paying him royalties. Though now Stephen Foster is one among the world-renowned composers he was a stranger to the general public during his lifetime as he was not a professional performer. At the age of 37, Stephen Foster passed away impoverished leaving behind more than 200 compositions that would continue to live on to this very day.
Since his demise, Stephen Foster’s has grown in popularity and has been acknowledged by fans worldwide. The Stephen Fosters Culture Center State Park, his memorial at the University of Pittsburgh, his sculpture at the entrance of Carnegie Museum Of Natural History, and other numerous sculptures and busts in his tribute are all signs and symbols of his legacy. Music is often seen as a gift from above. Its bearers have a special place in our lives and these melodies and rhythms continue to resonate long after they are called back. Stephen Foster’s songs transcend time and continue to live in our hearts long after he is gone.
How Can We Celebrate Stephen Foster Memorial Day:
- Tune Into One Of The Many Celebrations.
This is a great opportunity to meet his fans and listen to his best records live. You can attend concerts, tributes, or ceremonies at Stephen Foster’s Center in White Springs, 97-bell Carillion, or other numerous locations.
- Encourage Your Gifted Friends
Appreciate the talented musicians who remain unrecognized like Stephen Foster and still many others who are doubtful of their abilities. And if you are one such musician take courage and never give up!
- Foster The Memories
You can attend or conduct history and music lessons related to the life of Stephen Foster. You can also watch his biopics like Swanee River, Harmony Lane and I Dream of Jeannie.
- Not Unknown anymore
For a musician who was unknown all his life, you can celebrate his music and life by sharing posts of his songs, your singing videos of Stephen Foster classics, and his life story on social media using #StephenFosterMemorialDay.
Interesting Facts On Stephen Foster Memorial Day:
Few Facts related to Stephen Foster Memorial Day.
- In 1970 Stephen Foster was included in the songwriter’s hall of fame.
- In 1936 Foster was featured on a dollar in honor of the Musical Center of Cincinnati.
- During the first week of July, The Stephen Foster Music and Heritage Festival are conducted by the Lawrenceville Historical Society.
- Many of Foster’s handwritten scores sent to the publishers were not returned to libraries or his heirs. Some of them were bought and stored in the library of Congress.
- His compositions like “My Old Kentucky Home” and “Old Folks at Home” were adopted as the official state song of Kentucky and Florida respectively after few modifications were introduced to the words that were considered to be racist.
History Of Stephen Foster Memorial Day:
Stephen Foster Memorial Day is observed as a federal holiday after the law was passed in 1966 according to Title 36 of the US code. The day was observed for the first time in 1952 after its proclamation in 1951 by President Harry Truman.