Barbara C. Burbank, 90: Lauded singer of classical, sacred music

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PORTLAND — Barbara Clark Burbank, 90, of Seventy Five State Street, died March 4 following a brief illness, with her two sons by her side.

On April 16, 1920, she was born in Portland, a daughter of Howard Winchell and Helen Sumner Baine Clark.

Her musical education began at age five, which launched her lifelong love of music.

After she graduated from South Portland High School in 1938 she married Dr. Lowell M. Hardy of Portland in 1939. They had three sons and spent 19 years together.

She later married Leon Everett Burbank of South Portland and they spent 39 happy years together.

Throughout her life, she sang extensively in Maine and New England in concert, oratorio, light opera and musical stage productions. Her repertoire included classical and sacred music, and her performances of The Messiah were consistently well-reviewed.

For many seasons she was a guest soprano soloist with the Portland Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Portland Community Chorus.

She also performed with the Portland Players, the Arundel Opera Theater, the Bowdoin Music Club, and other groups, and performed a concert tour with the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston.

For 35 years she was a soprano soloist at Portland’s State Street Church, where she was an active member, and also served as president of many groups including The Rossini Club and the Greater Portland Community Chorus.

She was also lauded for her 25-year commitment on the board of managers at Seventy Five State Street.

Her favorite activities included entertaining family during the holidays, sewing, sailing and she was an avid reader.

Her husband, Leon, predeceased her in 2006. She was also predeceased by a son, William Lowell Hardy, a sister, Ruth W. Clark Hay, and a brother, Gordon Baine Clark.  

Surviving are her sister, Dory Clark Earls of Portland; two sons, Thomas Clark Hardy of South Portland and Richard Kenneth Hardy and his wife Margaret of Framingham, Mass.; two stepsons, Deane Arthur Burbank and his wife Nancy of Puyallup, Wash. and Thomas Robert Burbank of Indio, Calif.; seven grandchildren, Karen W. Andrade, Christopher C. Hardy, Kimberley Clark Hardy, Alexander William Hardy, Michelle Mehigan, and Jeffrey Scott Hardy; 11 great-grandchildren; one great-great-granddaughter; and seven step-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 19, at the State Street Church, 159 State St., Portland. Recorded portions of one of her performances of The Messiah will be played as part of the service. A reception will follow at the church.

Arrangements are by Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland, and by State Street Church members.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to State Street Church, 159 State St., Portland, ME 04101.

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