Soldiers’ Songs of World War I

June 14th     7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.


In the good old days before radio, television, the internet and iPods, songs drew families, neighbors, communities – and soldiers together.  Join us at Windsor Historical Society on Thursday, June 14 from 7-8:30 p.m. for Soldiers’ Songs of World War I with Michael McCann, who will perform songs of the era using his personal family collections of World War I memorabilia to illustrate the lyrics.   This program is sponsored by Alford Associates.


A former paratrooper and Green Beret, McCann draws on his combat experience, knowledge of military history, and satchel of songs written by and about soldiers to tell powerful stories about World War I from the soldiers’ perspective. Soldiers’ songs deal with getting enough to eat, staying warm and dry, escaping death and injury, yearning for families and loved ones at home.  Soldiers sang songs to keep up their spirits and make work go faster.  Because soldiers were frequently on the move, advancing long distances with burdensome loads, many soldiers’ songs have a steady marching tempo.


Soldiers’ songs were popular on the home front during and after the war.  People bought printed sheet music and gathered around pianos in homes, saloons, and dance halls to sing together.  This was the era of the barbershop quartet and school and community choral groups.  Song was truly a part of American culture, and World War I song tunes like “Over There” and “It’s A Long Way to Tipperary” were popular, familiar, and timely enough to be recycled in World War II.  Many are familiar to us today.  Audience members will receive song sheets and are invited to sing along with McCann if they wish.


The Soldier’s Songs of World War I program is offered in conjunction with the Society’s new exhibition, Over There: Windsor and World War I, sponsored by Alstom Power, an anonymous donor, Rabbett Insurance Agency, and Windsor Federal Savings, with support from The Kernan Agency. Guests are encouraged to tour the show before or after the program and discover Windsor’s contributions to the war on the battlefield, home front, and in U.S. military posts.  Cost for the program is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and $4 for WHS members.  Parking is available around Palisado Green and in the Windsor Discovery Center parking lots.     




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