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Song Story: Over There

Over There was written by George M. Cohan in 1917, during the height of World War I.  The song became an instant hit. The song reflected Americans’ expectations that the war would be short.  It was a patriotic song designed to galvanize American young men to enlist in the army and fight the “Hun”. The Read More

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Patriotic songs: This is My Country

This is My Country is a popular patriotic song for both the native born and the immigrant. The song was composed in 1940 by the songwriting duo Don Raye {born Don Raye Wilhoite, Jr.} and Al Jacobs. Don Raye Wilhoite, Jr. was born on March 16, 1909 in Washington, D.C.  He changed his name to Read More

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Song Story: This Land is Your Land

In honor of the Fourth of July, I thought we’d look at a popular Patriotic song, This Land is Your Land. The American folk song was written in 1940 by Woody Guthrie.  During this time he hitchhiked from Los Angeles to New York City and continuously heard God Bless America played on the radio and Read More

George M. Cohan

You’re a Grand Old Flag

You’re a Grand Old Flag is a popular song written by George M. Cohan. The song was published in 1906 and first performed on the stage on February 6.  Cohan wrote the song for his musical George Washington, Jr.  The song was first performed on the opening night of the play at Herald Square Theater Read More

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Taps

Taps is a haunting bugle call that is played at military funerals. During the American Civil War, three slow drum beats were struck at the end of the Tattoo to extinguish the lights.  A military Tattoo was originally a form of military music.  Today it has evolved to shows involving theatrics and musical performances.  The Read More

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Behind the Song: Yankee Doodle Dandy

We just celebrated the 4th of July over the weekend.  Today I want to share the story behind one of our patriotic songs, Yankee Doodle Dandy. We all think about the Revolutionary War when we hear the song, however the folk song dates back to even before the Revolutionary War. Yankee Doodle Dandy dates back Read More

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Behind the Song: Over the River and Through the Woods

The popular children’s song, Over the River and Through the Woods,  was written by Lydia Maria Child as a Thanksgiving poem. The lyrics represented in the song is often associated with cold.  In the early 19th Century, New England winters were colder and had earlier winters than they do in the present day. The poem Read More

George M. Cohan

Profile of a Performer: George M. Cohan

George M. Cohan was a popular vaudeville and Broadway act. He was born July 3, 1878 in Rhode Island.  He and his parents always insisted he was born on the 4th of July, 1878.   He began performing with his parents and sister at a young age.  Before he was able to walk, he was used Read More

God Bless America

God Bless America

Irving Berlin’s patriotic love song to his adopted homeland was hidden away for over twenty years before being publicly made known. Irving Berlin was a Russian immigrant living in New York City.  Growing up, Berlin often heard his mother say “God Bless America.” Berlin later said about his mother, “without America, her family would have Read More

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The Untold Story: The Star Spangeled Banner

    We all know our National Anthem, but do you know how it originated? The author, Francis Scott Key, was at Fort McHenry when the British Royal Navy bombed the fort in 1814. Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and amateur poet, and John Stuart Skinner were on a mission for President James Madison on Read More