Do Your Best and Remember . . .

My son is graduating from high school this coming weekend and I am feeling mixed emotions.

On the one hand, I am proud, excited, and looking forward to what the future holds. On the other hand, I feel the winds of change, and with them a bit of sadness and apprehension about what lies ahead.

At times like this, I take comfort in knowing that I am not the first person to feel this way. Connecting with primary sources always helps. (Seriously, it does.)

World War I Recruiting Songs: Building the Military with Music

Music is one way to get a message out or to encourage support for a cause, especially during wartime. In the first years of World War I, when the United States was neutral, songs supported the country staying out of the war. After the U.S. entered the war in 1917, songs encouraged or discouraged citizens to enlist and join the battle. Others encouraged those on the home front to support those who were on the battlefield.

Baseball, Music, and Suffrage? Exploring the Music of the “National Pastime”

Did you know that “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” originally had extra stanzas beyond the ones we all know? When it was composed in 1908 by Albert Von Tilzer and lyricist Jack Norworth, it documented the story of Katie Casey, a baseball fan who wanted to go with her beau to the baseball game. Though there were certainly women who were knowledgeable about their favorite teams, it was expected that women would not want to go to the games and would prefer to be safe at home.

Blessed with “Sunshine on a Cloudy Day”

When I learned that Smokey Robinson would be the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, I was thrilled.

The Gershwin Prize honors a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations.

Five Questions with Jennifer Cutting, Folklife Specialist, American Folklife Center

Folklife – songs, stories, jokes, crafts, and dances which have been handed down from generation to generation – are the unwritten history of the American people, and they help us understand what it is like to belong to a group, whether that group is a family, an ethnic group, a regional group, or a group of workers in the same occupation.