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The Catholic and Marianist University

More Ways to Sing Than Loud

Senior Kristen Burress blends two passions while presenting research at a national conference

Kristen Burress is one lucky student who had the opportunity to combine her two passions: history and music. The San Antonio-native traveled to Denver to present her research paper, “The Americanization of Old Tunes: An Analysis of Revolutionary War Songs,” at the 2013 Western Social Science Association Conference.

Kristen Burress“In looking at melodies from older material, the songs are telling the story of the time through music,” Burress said of the songs from the American Revolution that she studied.

Burress was interested in not just the musical composition, but the lyrics as well.

“There are more ways to sing than loud,” said Burress. “The lyrics of the old songs not only describe historical events happening at the time, but also shed light on the traditions and routines of the people during this period.”

Burress didn’t just present her research, she performed it, too. She sang excerpts of songs from the Revolutionary period to give conference goers an authentic auditory experience.

But she’s no stranger to performing — she has been singing since she was young and continues to perform with the St. Mary’s chapel choir. Now, she plans to use this research as part of her senior History thesis.

“There are more ways to sing than loud,” said Burress. “The lyrics of the old songs not only describe historical events happening at the time, but also shed light on the traditions and routines of the people during this period.”

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