Scottish poet Robert Burns is celebrated on Saturday | TheUnion.com
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Scottish poet Robert Burns is celebrated on Saturday

For those who love and appreciate Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns, Saturday’s “Robbie Burns” concert at Trinity Episcopal Church, 201 Nevada St., Nevada City, at 8 p.m., is a must see.

Karl Goldstein impersonates the complex, sensitive, talented, charismatic, and some say lady’s man who was born in 1759 and died 37 years later of the ravages of rheumatic fever.

While much is known about Burns’ poems, less is known about the songs he wrote (“Auld Lang Syne” is one), or should we say “mended,” a term he used when he referred to his modification of the old tunes he collected as he traveled the Scottish countryside – this according to soprano Susan Rode Morris, a Nevada City resident who is responsible for bringing up from the San Francisco Bay Area the troupe of musicians and performers, of which she is a part.



A classically trained singer, Morris sings the songs, which cover the range of human experience, while Goldstein draws his dialogue from the hundreds of letters Burns wrote in his short lifetime about his life, loves and struggles. Professional musicians Phebe Craig on harpsichord, Julie Jeffrey on viol (viola de gamba is the full name), and Shira Kammen on Scottish fiddle accompany them.

Morris is also the founder and leader of Ensemble Alcatraz and a member, along with the other Burns’ celebration musicians, of the San Francisco Early Music Society.




This is the second year this performance has taken place in Nevada City, although the performers have been doing the Annual Robert Burns Celebration for 11 years in the Bay Area.

The group’s CDs, which are played on National Public Radio, will be sold at the concert, including its new release, “O Fickle Fortune.”

“There is always a full, lively crowd of Burns fans, Scottish and early music lovers (at the performances),” says Morris, and she advises arriving early for a seat.

Local musician Richard Geisler says, “If you have never seen it, come join with everyone for some hot Scottish fiddling, great songs, laughs, and conviviality in an 18th-century setting, and performed by some of the Bay Area’s best. The Robert Burns Celebration is pure Burns, with all his wit and bite and heart-melting tenderness.”

Rumor even has it, says Morris, that a distant relative of Burns might come to the concert.

Tickets at the door are $10, $5 for seniors and youth 12 and under.


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