Johnnies, Tommies, and Sammies: Music and the Making of the Allies | Newberry

Johnnies, Tommies, and Sammies: Music and the Making of the Allies

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

6 pm

Ruggles Hall

The program is free and no registration is required.
Open to the Public

Listen to the audio from the lecture-performance.

From 1914 to 1916, cultures in Britain, (Anglophone) Canada, and The United States moved toward a unified response to the war in Europe. War-related popular music exchanged among the three cultures provides remarkable insights into their changing views of each other, themselves, and the conflict. In 1914, Britain was directly involved and directly threatened. Canada, still a British colony, owed allegiance to the Crown but was three thousand miles removed. The United States was officially neutral but in practice supported the allies, and after the Lusitania incident, was increasingly inclined towards engagement. By 1917 all three countries had become part of “The Allies” and music played a central role in binding the three countries together.

Two performers (Laurie Matheson and Justin Vickers) and three musicologists—a Brit (Christina Bashford), a Canadian (Gayle Sherwood Magee), and an American (William Brooks)—present a lecture-performance in which live music is integrated with projections, period recordings, and informative commentary. Rather than a series of papers, they offer a single, collaboratively authored text, that traces and exemplifies some of the threads that bound the Allies together. All the music presented is held in the James Francis Driscoll Collection of American Sheet Music at the Newberry Library.

This presentation is the most recent collaboration between Bashford, Brooks, Magee, Matheson and Vickers. The three musicologists (Bashford, Brooks, and Magee) previously convened two conferences in March 2015, at the University of York and the University of Illinois. Along with Matheson and Vickers, the three musicologists presented a “special session,” at the American Musicological Society in November 2015. In spring 2017 the team will be featured in a Library of Congress lecture and webcast that integrates the Driscoll collection with holdings at the Library of Congress.

About the Performers and Musicologists

Christina Bashford (Associate Professor at the School of Music, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) works on the cultural history of music in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain. Her publications include The Pursuit of High Culture: John Ella and Chamber Music in Victorian London (Boydell Press, 2007) and Historiography and Invisible Musics: Domestic Chamber Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain (JAMS, 2010). She is currently co-editing, with Roberta Montemorra Marvin, an essay volume, The Idea of Art Music in a Commercial World. She is also editor of NABMSA Reviews, for the North American British Music Studies Association, and President of the Midwest Victorian Studies Association.

William Brooks’s publications include two overview chapters in The Cambridge History of American Music (1998). Work on WWI sheet music has been supported by fellowships from the AHRC, the Lilly Library, and the Newberry Library and continues in 2015 with a research leave and a Hampsong Fellowship. Writings on American experimental music, especially Ives and Cage, include an edited collection, MetaCage (University of Leuven Press, 2009). A composer and performer as well as a scholar, his work in all domains concerns the interaction of vernacular and cultivated traditions.

Gayle Sherwood Magee (Associate Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) publishes on American music since the late nineteenth century, including the music of Charles Ives, film music, and contemporary music. Her most recent book is Robert Altman’s Soundtracks (OUP, 2014); other recent publications include Songwriting, Advertising, and Mythmaking in the New Hollywood: The Case of Nashville (1975) (Music and the Moving Image, 2012); and Rethinking Social Class and American Music (JAMS, 2011). Currently she is writing a book on William Bolcom, and since 2010 she has served as the President of the Charles Ives Society.

Laurie Matheson is a singer and composer, organist and choir director at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Decatur, IL, and director of the University of Illinois Press, where she acquires books in music, working class history, folklore, and Appalachian studies. She holds M.Mus. (Westminster Choir College) and DMA (University of Illinois) degrees in choral music. Recent appearances include lecture-recitals of WWI music given at the Newberry Library, Chicago, and at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Justin Vickers (Assistant Professor, Illinois State University) is a lyric tenor whose research focuses primarily on Benjamin Britten, the English Opera Group, and twentieth-century British composers. He is currently co-editing a collection of Britten essays with Vicki Pierce Stroeher; recent writings concerning Peter Maxwell Davies appear in Notes and The Sea and the British Musical Imagination (both 2015). A board member of the North American British Music Studies Association, Vickers has given papers and lecture-recitals throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Asia.

Cost and Registration Information 

This program is free and no registration is required.