11-11-11: World War I Remembered through Words and Melody

Join musician, composer, and music scholar William Brooks at the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at 11:00am on Tuesday, November 11, as he reveals through such songs as Archie Gottler’s America I Love You and John Philip Sousa’s In Flanders Fields America’s involvement in WWI and the country’s remembrance of the soldiers who sacrificed their lives.

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November of 1918 was designated as the official cessation of hostilities between Germany and the WWI Allied forces. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson and most of the country embraced a national policy of neutrality to avoid becoming involved in Europe’s military conflict.  American patriotism was the vogue of Tin Pan Alley’s composers and lyricists, and the melodies and words were often used to affirm Wilson’s preparedness through peace campaigns which helped him eventually get re-elected in 1916.  However, after Germany’s failed diplomatic effort to incite Mexico to declare war on America was discovered in early 1917, the country’s neutral sentiment abruptly changed and the music of these composers was used promote volunteerism and national support for America’s involvement in this war.

Beginning at 7:30pm that evening the University of Illinois Wind Orchestra, under the direction of Barry Houser, will perform a special concert in the Krannert Center for Performing Arts Foellinger Great Hall entitled, A Call to Duty, Honor and Country, to honor all military servicemen and veterans.  Their concert will portray the many voices of twentieth-century America through Jack Stamp’s The Star Spangled Banner – A Love Song to Our Country, Carolyn Bremer’s Early Light, John Philip Sousa’s Bullets and Bayonets and The Stars and Stripes Forever, Carmen Dragon’s arrangement of America the Beautiful, and Bob Lowden’s Armed Forces Salute.  Current military personnel and veterans who attend in uniform or mention their service get in free. In addition the Urbana High School Wind Symphony, under the direction of Darren Hicks, will be the Illinois band’s featured guest ensemble.  For further information contact the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 217-333-6280 or visit http://www.krannertcenter.com/.

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