NORWAY — The music of 19th-century American songwriter Stephen Foster will be heard in the Norway Opera House next month.

Decades after the last performance in the second-floor theater was heard, local director and actor Sally Jones is bringing music back into the partially restored Opera House on June 15 in a fundraising concert she calls Musical Dreamer.

The concert will feature Ed Gabrielsen singing the music of Stephen Foster in the storefront at 414 Main St. beginning at 7:30 p.m. All proceeds will go to the Norway, Maine Opera House Corp. for restoration of the 1894 brick building on Main Street.

Corporation President Dennis Gray said Wednesday that the corporation is still fundraising to clear about $200,000 in debt from the $1.1 million first-floor renovation project that was recently completed.

A portion of the roof collapsed on Sept. 21, 2007, severing a sprinkler pipe, which flooded the first floor and destabilized the three-story brick building. The town eventually took ownership of it and stabilized it.

The Opera House has undergone a complete first-floor renovation and businesses have begun moving into the storefronts.

The upstairs theater, which hosted balls, plays, dances, graduations and other events for many years, remains unfinished. The Norway, Maine Opera House Corp. hopes to renovate the remainder of the building.

In a statement released this week by Jones, Brenda Melhus, board member of both Norway Downtown and the corporation, said, “Ed Gabrielson’s voice will return warmth and soul to a building that has long missed both.”

“I love to sing Foster’s beautiful melodies and have performed them for the past twenty years,” Gabrielsen said in the statement. “They are a part of the American songbook, part of our national culture. I am happy to sing them for the revival of the Opera House.”

Foster, who was known as the “father of American Music” wrote such songs as “Beautiful Dreamer,” “Old Susanna” and “My Old Kentucky Home.”

Jones said Gabrielsen has many fans in the area and often sings at local church services and concerts. He is a classically trained tenor, having studied voice at Southern Methodist University, Sam Houston State University and The University of Arizona.

According to Jones, Gabrielsen has won many contests and performed with orchestras and civic choruses. In Maine, he has given six recitals. He appeared in “For the Love of a Song, II” at the Norway Memorial Library in April.

Kristen Short will accompany Gabrielsen on guitar, Fawn Palmer on banjo, David Knightly on violin, Danielle Tran on piano and Steve Jones on mandolin.

This is not the first time the Opera House has been featured in a musical event since its near collapse in 2007.

Last year, Jones and Steve Jones of Harrison, adapted “The Road to Eden’s Ridge,” a novel by former Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School English teacher Myra McLarey and co-author Linda Weeks, into a musical.

“The Norway, Maine Opera House Corporation is so excited to have music once again within the walls of the building after having silence for decades,” said Scott Berk, a corporation board member and Main Street owner of Cafe Nomad.

The show is produced by Jones as part of her “For the Love of a Song” musical series. It is sponsored by H & R Block. Tickets go on sale May 10 for $12 at Books N Things, 739-6200, or they may be purchased at the door.

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