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Lecture Series
October 19, 2009

Full House Enjoy the Love Songs of John and Abigail Adams

Terry Quinn Brings World Premiere for Volpe Lecture Series

A crowd of nearly 300 people filled St. Francis College's Founders Hall for the world premier of Terry Quinn's A Distant Love: Songs of John and Abigail Adams, as the latest presentation of the Thomas J. Volpe Lecture Series on Monday, October 19.

Baritone singer Peter Clark and Soprano vocalist Elizabeth Dabney (click to watch her performance of the ballad, "Avowal") brought to life the long-distance and long-term love of John and Abigail Adams during the 11 years that John spent overseas before becoming President. A string quartet of Broadway veterans; Karl Kawahara (violin), Sean Carney (violin), Liuh-Wen Ting (viola) and Ted Mook (cello); gave life to the accompanying musical arrangements for this dramatic song cycle.

Librettist Terry Quinn, an adjunct Professor of English at St. Francis and noted author, playwright and poet, worked with composer Gary Fagin to bring to life, not just the passion of the Adams' romance, but also the subtleties of a society on the verge of a major cultural shift.

The first half of this production was originally performed in 2005 and had its world premiere at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, with Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in attendance.

An introductory short lecture by James Grant, noted economist and author of John Adams: Party of One set the stage for the performance. His talk, John Adams: Junk Bond Salesman cast Adams as an un-political politician whose drive and determination had one British dignitary characterize him as, "the most ungracious man I ever saw." Adams's job was to rally support for a not-yet-unified collection of colonists against the greatest as military power of the world. It was a task he succeeded in accomplishing and paved the way for the funding of the America's Revolutionary War.

There are two more chance to see A Distant Love; Monday, November 2 at 6:00pm at St. Ann's School (no RSVP required) and Friday, November 6 at the Brooklyn Historical Society (RSVP Wed. – Sun. to 718-222-4111 x250)

Guest speakers of the Volpe Lecture Series offer an international perspective in a variety of fields to the St. Francis College community; from business leaders to world leaders. Past speakers include Salman Rushdie (Satanic Verses), Mariane Pearl (wife of slain reporter Daniel Pearl), Paul Rusesabagina (the real Hotel Rwanda), Lech Walesa (former President of Poland, Nobel Prize winner) and George Mitchell (former U.S. Senator, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, baseball steroids report).

The lecture series is funded by a generous gift from Thomas J. Volpe, a former Senior Vice President of Financial Operations for The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. Currently he is Senior Advisor at Babcock & Brown, a global financial services firm. Volpe serves as Chairman Emeritus of the St. Francis College Board of Trustees.

Attached Photos: (Elizabeth Dabney as Abigail Adams)

(From L-R: Thomas J. Volpe, Terry Quinn, James Grant, Brendan J. Dugan)

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City's five boroughs and beyond.
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St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201
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