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'Songs of Shakespeare'

An Ashland tradition continues when the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, under the direction of Paul French, will present its 7th Annual "Songs of Shakespeare" concert at 8 p.m. Monday, July 13, on the outdoor Elizabethan Stage at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, 15 S. Pioneer St., Ashland.

In keeping with the Shakespearean theme of the concert, the evening's program is divided into acts. OSF actors Robin Goodrin Nordli and Michael Elich, joined by OSF alumnus Jim Finnegan will perform selections from various plays.

Composers worldwide have used the words of the Bard as inspiration for their music The Southern Oregon Repertory Singers will present pieces by a number of those composers.

Featured in this year's concert will be musical selections from English 16th century composer Thomas Morley to English contemporary composer John Rutter.

Scheduled works include "Sweet Love Remembered" by Lane Johnson, a jazz version of "It was a Lover and his Lass" by Ward Swingle, "If Music be the Food of Love" by Jean Belmont, "Caliban's Song" by David Hamilton and "When He Shall Die" by Steven Sametz.

There also will be pieces by jazz artist George Shearing, American composers David Dickau and Eric Whitacre, and Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi.

As an added feature, the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers will perform a world premiere of a new song cycle by the group's composer-in-residence, Craig Kingsbury. The piece is based on the Witches Song in Act I of "Macbeth." "Macbeth" is one of this season's plays by Shakespeare at the festival.

Accompanying the more than 40 singers will be Jodi French. Since 1986, the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers has been committed to the performance and cultivation of choral music and to the education of young singers in the art of choral singing.

The group prides itself on introducing its audiences to choral literature that is less well known.

There will be a pre-concert lecture by Ed Wight at 7 p.m. in the Bill Patton Garden next to the outdoor theater.

Tickets to "Songs of Shakespeare" are $18, $5 for students. Tickets are available at the door and at Paddington Station and Music Coop, Ashland; Grocery Outlet, Medford; at repsingers.org; and by phone at 552-0900.