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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful
Stories from the American Songbook

3-Session Daytime Series on Zoom

Wednesday, May 19, June 2, and June 16, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Quick Tix Code: 1K0105
$45 Package Member
$55 Package Non-Member
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Some songs are so familiar they seem part of us. We dance and romance to them, come together, and dream of somewhere over the rainbow. Yet each of their creators had no idea their song would live forever. Using a medley of film clips and talk, writer and documentary filmmaker Sara Lukinson traces how some of our favorites from the American songbook came to be and then as reimagined by different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing national moods were transformed into something more.

Please Note: Individual sessions are available for individual purchase.

MAY 19  Songs of Hope and Yearning: Somewhere Over the Rainbow and You’ll Never Walk Alone

These songs were written to fit characters and moments in a 1939 movie and a 1945 Broadway show, but overtook their first lives to become the songs we most want to hear when our hearts need lifting: beautiful melodies and words that bring comfort and courage through the storms.

JUNE 2  A Simple Song and a Soaring Anthem: This Land Is Your Land and Bridge Over Troubled Water

These songs written by guitar-playing singer-songwriters took the country by storm to become unofficial anthems. One we sing together like a folk tune, and the other we take comfort in hearing, a quiet song given wings by strings, angelic voices, and soaring harmonies.

JUNE 16  Forever Favorites: Summertime and My Favorite Things

These great songs leapt out of musicals to become American standards, reimagined by opera stars, innovative jazz musicians, and pop divas, or remade as children’s songs and Christmas jingles. Through hundreds of versions from the simple to the soaring, the songs we love remain.

Lukinson, who has won three Emmys and seven Writer’s Guild Awards, now teaches at NYU and the 92nd Street Y. Her personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine.

3 sessions

Photo caption (upper right): Clockwise: Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale; Woody Guthrie; Mary Martin and children from the Broadway production of "The Soundof Music" photo by Toni Frissell (Library of Congress)


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This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.