November 9, 2005 Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and Baritone Thomas Hampson Celebrate "Creativity Across America" with Concert in Fort Worth

Stop in Fort Worth Highlights Educational Teacher Training Institutes, Informational Kiosks, Public Viewings of Library Treasures

Press Contact: Trish Taylor Shuman (202) 707-1940 | Erin Allen (202) 707-7302

The internationally acclaimed baritone Thomas Hampson will give the second performance in his 11-city “Song of America” tour on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 8 p.m. in Bass Performance Hall, located in the historic Sundance Square district of downtown Fort Worth.

“The ‘Song of America’ tour with Thomas Hampson is part of an unprecedented national program that the Library of Congress is initiating to celebrate creativity across America,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “America is a wellspring of new ideas in music, literature, poetry, film and other forms of artistic expression. As the home of the Copyright Office of the United States, the Library of Congress has been the repository of American creativity since 1870. We want to celebrate the energy and inventive spirit that are such an integral part of our cultural history, and I cannot think of a more accomplished ambassador for the first part of our initiative than Tom.”

“To me the most interesting thing in learning about American song is to realize what our poets and composers have in common: It’s a driving need to tell a story about ourselves and about our becoming this American society,” said Hampson.

His long-standing collaboration with the Library of Congress grew out of a vision shared with Billington: to honor the history and preservation of American song and to reveal to new audiences the breadth and depth of the Library’s unparalleled collections of musical scores and recordings.

The primary goal of the “Song of America” tour is to reach out to young people who might not be familiar with the great depth and variety of American song and history. The Fort Worth concert will include an educational component with outreach staff from the Library of Congress conducting a two-day teacher institute, “Making a Statement Through Poetry and Song,” for local K-12 educators at Alvord High School. Invited teachers will learn how to incorporate the Library’s unique online collections into their classrooms to encourage critical thinking skills among their students.

Hampson, a native of Spokane, Wash., has long been regarded as one of the most passionate advocates for American song, which he has championed throughout his career. His companion CD, titled “Song of America” (EMI Classics), is a 20-track collection of American song, created in association with the Library. The album features songs that Hampson will sing on the tour, as well as many other favorites and lesser-known gems.

The “Song of America” tour featuring Thomas Hampson has been made possible by friends of the Library of Congress and members of its private advisory group, the James Madison Council. It is one of the first in a series of events in the Library’s broader, long-term exploration and celebration of “Creativity Across America.”

The Library is the world’s largest library with more than 130 million items in nearly all languages and formats. It serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both through its 21 reading rooms on Capitol Hill and its award-winning Web site at

In conjunction with the concert will be:


Kiosks will be installed at the Bass Performance Hall and Modern Art Museum displaying general tour details, schedules and information on Library of Congress music resources. The Library of Congress will leave these behind as gifts to the community of Fort Worth.


Teachers Institutes at Alvord and Decatur high schools

A presentation by the Greater Wise Arts Alliance, 103 W. Main St., Decatur, TX


Thomas Hampson vocal master class with Texas Christian University students

Public viewings of treasures from the Library, including sheet music of Stephen Forster’s “Beautiful Dreamer” and holographs of George Gerswhin’s “Porgy and Bess,” along with items chosen specifically for the tour stop, such as a published first edition of Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag”

“Song of America” concert featuring Hampson and pianist Craig Rutenberg.

For tickets and information, contact (877) 212-4280,


PR 05-240
ISSN 0731-3527