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 link to 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.

Illinois Humanities also once again selected my program From Prairie to Farm to City: Music to Commemorate Illinois’ Bicentennial as  Road Scholar program, with a slight title change to From Prairie to Farm to City: Illinois History Through Music.

This program has proven to be really popular. The music in my program reflects the story of Illinois, which is shaped not only by the land (prairie, Great Lakes, Mississippi River), but also by the many cultures which have thrived in it, beginning with Native Americans, and including French, German, African-American, Mexican, and other immigrant groups. The program includes songs about farmers, workers, disasters, and tragedies. Maybe even a little Blues and  Rock and Roll.

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