THE SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT IN SONG
CENTENNIAL OF SUFFRAGE CONCERT PROGRAM
TELLS THE HISTORY OF WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE THROUGH VINTAGE MUSIC
All-new program in 2020 commemorates the ratification of the 19th Amendment
PORTLAND, OR: Centennial of Suffrage tells the story of women’s fight for the vote through the songs that reflected the struggle as it was being waged, opening an entertaining and illuminating window on a critical moment in American history. Singer, composer, historian and international bestselling author Cecelia “Cece” Otto created Centennial of Suffrage to commemorate one of the great civil rights struggles in American history on the eve of its 100th anniversary. She will be giving performances throughout the year in Oregon, with these special events scheduled in March:
Livestream concert of "Centennial of Suffrage"
Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at 7pm
This free online concert is made possible through the generosity of the Friends of Lake Oswego Public Library. Special thanks to the Oswego Heritage Council for providing a beautiful venue for Cece to Livestream from. YouTube link (you can set a reminder here): https://youtu.be/R_OravuOBTA. A full write up is here: https://www.ci.oswego.or.us/library/remote-lopl/online-first-tuesday-music-featuring-centennial-suffrage-song-revue-cece-otto?date=0.
McMenamin’s Grand Lodge History Pub at Pat's Corner
Sunday, August 23rd at 6:30pm (5:30pm doors). Cece will be performing “Centennial of Suffrage” for this concert as well. Free admission. This is an outdoor, socially-distanced event. Link is here: https://www.mcmenamins.com/events/221875-centennial-of-suffrage-a-concert-commemorating-the-19th-amendment
History that Entertains and Inspires
Centennial of Suffrage consists of more than a dozen songs that reflect the fight to secure the right to vote for American women, a goal finally realized when the 19th Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920. Otto performs each song with its full original lyrics as it would have been heard at the time it was composed, interspersed with commentary that frames each song in the wider context of the suffrage movement.
Songs of Struggle and Courage
“The earliest song I sing in the program is ‘Let Us All Speak Our Minds if We Die for It,’” she says, “which was published right in the middle of the Civil War — and sounds like it could have been written today. By the time we reach the 20th century, Tin Pan Alley is in full swing, and you see the issue reflected in the songs of the day. Pop songs were like newspaper editorials set to music, and I wanted the program to reflect all perspectives, both for and against. So I perform ‘I’m Going to Be a Suffragette’ as well as ‘The Anti-Suffrage Rose,’ for example.”
While professional composers churned out new tunes, suffrage activists often found it useful to repurpose old ones. “For the women involved in this struggle, maintaining morale was crucial,” says Otto. “Having a song to sing while marching or protesting kept everyone’s spirits up, and it made sense to recycle songs everyone already new. So you have ‘America, the Beautiful’ re-written with pro-suffrage lyrics, or ‘Keep Woman in Her Sphere’ — actually a pro-suffrage song — which is sung to the tune of ‘Auld Lang Syne.’”
An American Songline®
Created by Otto in 2013, An American Songline is an ongoing project dedicated to preserving and sharing the story of America through unique, experiential musical performances. American Songline performances entertain, educate and delight thanks to Cece’s unique ability to engage modern audiences with the songs and stories of a simpler time. “Bringing history to life through music is my calling,” she says. “You can learn so much about a place and time through its songs, and this program offers a unique way of examining and reliving such a crucial moment in history.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Dan Wiencek