American Music Month 2013

On the Road Again: Cruisin’ Coast to Coast with America’s Music
Concerts, Lectures, and Exhibitions

October 29-December 14, 2013
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University Library, and Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois
Events Calendar

Planned Events

Railroad transportation for nineteenth-century America was the primary means to travel across town or country. America’s streetscape was dramatically changed with the introduction of Ford’s automobile as an inexpensive alternative for transportation at the start of the twentieth century. The Lincoln Highway was conceived by Carl Graham Fisher in 1912 as the first transcontinental “rock” highway across the country. The coast to coast auto trail originated on New York City’s 42nd Street and terminated on San Francisco’s El Camino del Mar (The Road of the Sea). The highway’s planning was finalized in September 1913 with the goal that its 3,339 mile route through thirteen states would be completed on May 1, 1915 in time for the opening of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Its initial construction was officially dedicated on October 31st with church sermons on Abraham Lincoln, bonfires, fireworks, concerts, parades, and street dances throughout hundreds of towns and cities along its route.

Between 1913 and 1929 the Lincoln Highway brought significant prosperity, growth, and many new opportunities for cultural exchange to the rural and urban communities that it passed through, and the route was eventually christened “The Main Street across America.” One of the first to write about their 1914 adventure traveling the coast to coast highway was Effie Gladding and two years later Emily Post was commissioned by Collier’s magazine to write about the people she met while driving the Lincoln Highway. Beatrice Massey wrote in her 1919 travelogue, It Might Have Been Worse, “You will get tired and your bones will cry aloud, but I promise you one thing – no two days are the same, no two views similar, and no two cups of coffee alike. My advice to timid motorists is, Go.” In addition such marches and songs like Lylord St. Claire’s 1914 “Lincoln Highway March,” Al Jolson’s 1928 “Golden Gate,” Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg’s 1938 “God’s Country,” Bill Fries and Chip Davis’ 1974 “Old Thirty,” and Shadric Smith’s 1996 “Rollin’ Down that Lincoln Highway” were written to musically portray the excitement of the journey, destinations, and culture along the Lincoln Highway.

To commemorate the 2013 centennial anniversary of the Lincoln Highway and its impact on popular culture, this year’s tenth annual music celebration takes us on the road again as we explore the fascinating history and untold stories of America’s rich musical past. The Center’s exhibition, "The James Bond Theme: Music to Live, Die, and Love Another Day," kicks off our road trip across America’s musical landscape. Other exhibits include "A Musical Life: The Travels of Otto Mesloh," "Traveling America’s Early Highways: A Strothkamp Family Road Trip 1920-1930," "How the Sousa Band Music Library Came to the University of Illinois," "Celebrating the Harding-Hindsley-Begian-Keene Band Legacy at the University of Illinois," "Archie Green and the Campus Folksong Club," and "Live from the Crossroads: A Snapshot of Champaign-Urbana’s Local Music Scene 1980-2000."

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
School of Music
Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

Champaign-Urbana Folk & Roots Festival
Community Center for the Arts
Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
University Bands
University of Illinois Library

We invite you to join our exciting journey across America’s musical countryside through new concerts, lectures, and exhibitions for the coming year. For further information on this year's programming view the 2013 events calendar.