A Sprig of Thyme-A Collection of Irish and English Folk Songs, presents a select representation of the large body of English and Irish folk song that has been preserved throughout the centuries by ethnomusicologists, folk artists and composers. The arrangers presented on this CD are known as quintessentially outstanding composers of vocal music. Their settings of these songs are descriptive, lyrical and moving. Each has put their individual stamp upon these folk songs without obscuring the visceral draw of the original melodies and words. Also represented are the works of ethnomusicologists who traveled the countryside gathering folk song melodies from the populace. Without their efforts, a great wealth of music would be lost. These melodies are part of our heritage and I am honored to have the opportunity to sing them. Ruth Heley, 2004 Ruth Heley, a native of Moorhead, MN, graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Opera from the Hartt School of Music in West Hartford, Connecticut. She has appeared with the Connecticut Gilbert and Sullivan Society and the NewMilford Theatre Company. In Minneapolis, she has performed new music for Theatre de la Jeune Lune and has served as soprano soloist for Capella Senza Nome. In North Dakota, she has appeared with the Minot Western Plains Opera Company and has served as soloist for the Bismarck-Mandan Civic Chorus and the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony. Heley has frequently served as soprano soloist for the Dickinson Choral Union and the DSU Opera Gala. She has performed in musical theater productions and recitals throughout Southwestern North Dakota. She was awarded Honorable Mention at the ND Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions in 2000 and was awarded 1st and 2nd place, respectively, at the Graduate Level in the NDNATS Festival in 2001 and 2002. Heley is an adjunct instructor of voice at Dickinson State University, ND, and teaches private voice lessons at her studio, Wren Song Vocal Studio. Colleen McKirdy, teaches private piano lessons in Dickinson, and is an adjunct professor of music and staff accompanist at Dickinson State University. She has a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD, and a Master of Arts degree in piano pedagogy from the University of Denver. She has also worked as a K-12 music teacher, church choir director, church pianist and adjudicator. Marnie Kraft, a native of Underwood, ND, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND and a Master of Music degree from the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID. Her primary former teachers were Loran Eckroth and Richard Hahn. Marnie taught ear training and private flute studies at the University of Mary from 1993-2000. She currently lives in Bismarck and is employed with J.W. Pepper, a printed music retailer, in receiving and accounts payable, and has taught private flute lessons since 1986.