Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Music of Thanksgiving

The Music Sandwiched In Program at the library today revolved around Thanksgiving.  We were treated to a fiddle player from the group Heartsease and Thyme. 

It was a delight hearing the melody of the fiddle and being transported back in time to that of the late 1770's.  Along with the music, we were given brief tidbits of information concerning Thanksgiving.  She read George Washington's proclamation to the Continental Congress of 1777 declaring Thanksgiving a holiday to be celebrated on December 18th.

The musician then forwarded the time period to the mid 1800's.  She recalled Lincoln's proclamation to move Thanksgiving to the last Thursday in November.  She played various songs of gratitude and thanks from that period.

The children listened intently and Little Man would become lost in the music and begin to hum along.  They recognized bits and pieces of the songs she played.

One of my favorite pieces was "Simple Gifts".  Just watching her play the fiddle was memorizing.

Again, she brought in the politics of Thanksgiving.  This time fast forwarding to 1939.  FDR was basically lobbied by Fred Lazarus, Jr (owner of the Federated Department Stores, later to become Macy's) to move Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November.  This was due to November having at times five Thursdays.  It was a marketing ploy to get customers to start shopping for Christmas presents one week earlier.  This was to help stimulate the economy in the midst of the depression.  Thus, the holiday was moved and has been observed on the fourth Thursday in November.

After this brief history lesson, she then played a selection from Ken Burns' Civil War Series. 

Finally, she told us about her fiddle.  I had been eyeing it the entire performance.  It was a lovely piece.  She told us she chose to play it because it was an American made fiddle and she was playing music from America.  The fiddle was not particularly old like some violins or fiddles.  It was made by a man in Louisiana.  It was a beautiful piece.

She ended the program with a tune called "The Mockingbird".  Once again, parts sounded very familiar to us.  She could make the fiddle sound just like a bird! 

This was a wonderful program that set the mood for a thankful Thanksgiving.