One era of American history that is often overlooked is our country’s participation in World War I. Americans regarded the war from a variety of perspectives, and these are reflected in the American Songline program Cece Otto created to commemorate America’s role in the conflict. Some songs poke fun at military life, like “Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning” and “How Ya Gonna Keep ’em Down on the Farm.” Others capture the melancholy of people on the home front separated from their fighting men overseas, including “Hello Central, Give Me No-Man’s Land” and “Till We Meet Again.” Even pacifism had a voice in pre-war America, and “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier” sold 650,000 copies in 1915. Through music, Cece paints a picture of America at war, reconnecting audiences with the hopes, fears and longings of a nation rising to meet one of its greatest challenges.
American Songline programs consist of a mix of vaudeville and show tunes, patriotic favorites, operetta and light classical numbers, all dating from the early years of the 20th century. These songs range from sweet and sentimental to witty and sophisticated, and are guaranteed crowd-pleasers. Interspersed with the songs is Cece’s commentary, highlighting then-current issues reflected in the lyrics and establishing a context for modern audiences to appreciate the music to its fullest.
One-hour live concert video with commentary