Sunday Afternoons in 2017
at the Jacksonville Library!
For series information
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Join us in Jacksonville Oregon
for another season of
Pioneer History in Songs and Stories

Old American songs bring history to life when we use them as stepping-stones: their lyrics, melodies, and sentiments help us to imagine the era when they were first popular. Listen to a few songs from last season.

In ever-changing programs designed around colorful themes, I connect the songs with the historical background that surrounds them. History and song come to life together.

Performances are a fast-moving 60 minutes, with true tales, like...

 •The failed gold miner who wrote "Jingle Bells"
   •The story of the actual Man on the Flying Trapeze
     •What "Seeing the Elephant" meant to the Forty Niners
       •The beloved Irish song written by a German immigrant in Indiana
         •The song that was illegal to sing or own during the Civil War
           •and lots more...


The California/Oregon Gold Rush 1848–1855

Between 1848 and 1855, several hundred thousand treasure seekers made their way to California and Oregon, and some wrote songs about their experience.Songs: In the days of 49, O California, Seeing the Elephant, The Miner's Lament, The Miner's farewell, What was your Name in the States, more.

Two Brothers: the War Between the States 1861–1865

Confederate General Robert E. Lee once remarked that without music, there would have been no army. Music was everywhere on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, and the war could not have been fought without it. Songs: Two Brothers, Bonnie Blue Flag, My Old Kentucky Home, Battle Cry of Freedom, Home Sweet Home, All Quiet Along the Potomac, Eating Goober Peas, more.

Getting Here: traveling to Oregon and California 1840–1880

Travelling to Oregon and California, whether by steamer ship or Prairie Schooner, the emigrants heard (and sang) riverboat songs, trail songs, sea shanteys, and other songs of travel. Songs: The Boatmen Dance, O Shenandoah, Wait for the Wagon, Song of the Overland Stage Driver, Coming Around the Horn, The Ship That Never Returned.

Gold Rush Saloons: songs of cheap whiskey and fast women

During the Gold Rush, a "saloon" generally offered hard drinking, rugged card games, and raucous entertainment. Some songs were written for the saloons, and other songs were sung about them. Songs: Rye Whiskey, Champagne Charlie, The Gambler's Lament, I am a Roving Gambler, more

Music at Home: Victorian “Parlor Songs” 1850–1880

In the 19th Century home, music was a treasured and shared experience. Families often had at least one member who could play an instrument, usually piano or a small guitar. The playlist might include: Listen to the Mockingbird, I'll Take You Home again Kathleen, My Grandfather's Clock, Love's Old Sweet Song, more. And even an opera melody or two, like "La donne e mobile" from Verdi's Rigoletto, arranged in 1865 for parlor guitar.

Just Learn to Say No

Amusing songs of sobriety and morality from the Temperance Movement in the 1870s. Songs: Lips That Touch Liquor Shall Never Touch Mine, Please Sell No More Drink To My Father, Lighting A Cigar, Young Man Please Learn to Say No, more.