[act-ma] This Sunday: "The White House Chair, Presidential Campaign Songs That Changed America, " presented by In Good Company at Winchester Unitarian Society -- Nov. 4th

Mary Curtin marycurtin at comcast.net
Thu Nov 1 18:14:05 PDT 2012

In Good Company

The White House Chair: 
Presidential Campaign Songs 
That Changed America

directed by Kay Dunlap

Sunday, November 4, 4 pm

Winchester Unitarian Society

In Good Company presents "The White House Chair, Presidential Campaign Songs
That Changed America," directed by Kay Dunlap. Sunday, Nov. 4, 4 pm (doors
open at 3 pm; audience members are invited to make campaign buttons/signs
beforehand to use in the show). Reception to follow the performance.
Tickets: $20 adults; $10 students (not recommended for children under 6).
Winchester Unitarian Society, 478 Main Street, Winchester MA 01890. Free
parking. Advance tickets: http://whitehousechair.eventbrite.com. For further
information: 781-412-4642, info at ingoodcompanytheater.org. 

Nowadays, songs rarely play a significant role during Presidential
campaigns. But for many years, campaign songs were a fascinating and
important part of the election process. Many of America's best-known poets
and songwriters provided words and music for campaigns or, in the case of
the early presidents, tribute songs. For example, Robert Treat Paine Jr.'s
"Adams and Liberty" and "Jefferson and Liberty", which are included in the
In Good Company's upcoming "The White House Chair, Presidential Campaign
Songs That Changed America," were the first examples of when music played a
significant role in elections. During the Harrison-Van Buren Campaign of
1840, William Henry Harrison inspired one of the best known political
campaign song-turned-slogan of all times - "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" -
touting his questionable military victory against Native Americans. He was
transformed into a hero simply by the reference to "Tippecanoe" in over 100
songs. And thus, Harrison's campaign, along with his running mate John
Tyler, caused Martin Van Buren to be voted out of office after his first

"The White House Chair: Presidential Campaign Songs That Changed America"
includes many examples of influential presidential campaign songs spanning
from the time of George Washington through Dwight D. Eisenhower. Presented
by the newly formed In Good Company, "The White House Chair" is directed by
Kay Dunlap, who has been active as a choral conductor and arts administrator
in New England for over 30 years. Dunlap is the founder and former director
of Revels Repertory Company.

The colorful overview of songs in "The White House Chair" will provide many
opportunities for the audience to sing along. The texts of songs were first
set to traditional folk tunes such as "Yankee Doodle" and "Rosin the Beau"
and later to the tunes of well-known popular songs so that they would be
easy to sing. Although these songs tell us a lot about the important issues
of earlier times, many sound as though they could have been written

Further background on the program, which is appropriate for adults and
children, ages 6 and up:

In the mid nineteenth century, beloved tunes by composers such as Stephen
Foster, Henry Clay Work and George Root were used in parodies. Root's "The
Battle Cry of Freedom" was transformed into "Rally 'Round the Cause"; Work's
"Marching through Georgia" became "Marching with McKinley;" and Foster
composed "The White House Chair" for the Buchanan campaign of 1856. Root and
Cady, the highly successful music publishing company of these composers, was
more than happy to publish the campaign versions of these, so that they
could be sung at campaign rallies and in homes around the piano.

The important causes of the nineteenth century also gave rise to songs
connected to campaigns. Jesse Hutchinson's "Get Off the Track" became the
abolitionist theme song in 1844 when James Birney and Henry Clay split the
vote allowing James Polk the victory. Another cause song that educated about
women's suffrage but in a humorous vein was "Not for Joe," which was sung to
a music hall tune by Arthur Lloyd.

In the early twentieth century, election tunes came from Tin Pan Alley and
composers such as Al Jolson ("Harding, You're the Man for Us"), and by the
fifties, from musical theater composers such as Irving Berlin ("I Like

Further background on the production company:

The greater Boston arts community has a new musical theater ensemble in its
midst. In Good Company, Inc. ("Musical Theater, History and You") creates
captivating, original musical theater productions inspired by American
history. The auditioned ensemble of adults, teens and children present
public performances throughout New England, and offer interactive school
programs in the Greater Boston area.

In Good Company was created by members of the former Revels Repertory
Company in September of this year. Ensemble members represent 17 communities
in the greater Boston area and combine many years of performance experience.

Board President Norman Berman said, "We anticipate years of wonderful
productions offered by In Good Company - anchored in key historical periods,
and focused on fascinating people who, in their own ways, influenced this
country and brought history and culture to life."








--submitted by marycurtinproductions (on behalf of In Good Company)
c/o Mary Curtin
PO Box 290703, Charlestown, MA 02129
617-241-9664, 617-470-5867 (cell),
 <mailto:marycurtin at comcast.net> marycurtin at comcast.net
"dedicated to staging insightful entertainment, particularly in
non-traditional venues"
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