Last year Illinois Humanities selected my new program, March of the Women: Music for the 100th Anniversary of Suffrage, for its 2019 – 2020 Road Scholar roster.

Here is a video of the entire program, generously created by the McLean County Museum of History:

On June 4, 1919 Congress passed the 19th amendment — prohibiting states and the Federal government from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex — and sent it to the states for ratification. Illinois was one of the first three states, along with Michigan and Wisconsin, to ratify the amendment, just six days after Congress passed it. And 2020 marks 100 years since August 26, 1920, when Tennessee became the last of the necessary 36 states to ratify the amendment, thus making it the law of the land.

This program consists of songs about women’s suffrage from as early as the mid-nineteenth century through 1920. In addition, the program includes songs from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries about the role of women in society, including songs about equal work for equal pay, reproductive rights, and other relevant topics. It begins with “Winning the Vote,” a humorous but pointed song written in 1912 as a conversation between men and women about women’s suffrage; and ends with “Bread and Roses,” the anthemic song of women workers based on a poem inspired by the 1912 Lawrence textile strike. This is an entertaining and informative look at the fight for women’s right to vote and the continuing fight for women’s rights.

Music to Reflect News of the World

In March, 2021, the adult programmer for the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, IL, emailed to ask if I would put together a program of popular songs from the 1870s to perform in conjunction with the library’s community read of Paulette Jiles’ novel News of the World. After doing some research and  reading the novel I suggested a somewhat different approach, more relevant to the novel. I performed the program at the library on June 27, 2021 — my first live gig since March, 2020. The audience of about 60 people loved the concert. Here’s the program blurb.

“This program was designed to accompany the Gail Borden Public Library’s Community Read of Paulette Giles’ novel News of the World. The program includes songs and tunes mentioned in the novel, songs that relate to news items read by Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, and popular songs of the 1870’s. Some of these songs have remained popular throughout the decades and will be familiar to library audiences today. Whether included in conjunction with reading News of the World or presented on its own as musical performance, Music to Reflect News of the World is a fascinating and delightful look at music and history from a bygone era.”

Here’s a video of a fun time. For more videos, click on the Photos/Video link above. 

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