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“America’s Songs: The Great American Songbook,” a lecture by Michael Lasser.

March 26, 2014, 9:30 am -

Geneva History Museum
543 South Main Street
Geneva, NY 14456
315-789-5151

Nationally-syndicated radio show host Michael Lasser will present the first lecture of the Geneva Historical Society’s Spring Lecture Series on March 26, 2014. The program, “America's Songs: The Great American Songbook,” will be held at the Geneva History Museum at 7:30 p.m.

In conjunction with the recent publication of his latest book, America’s Songs II: From the 1890s to the Post-War Years, Michael Lasser will speak about the Great American Songbook, that unequaled body of song written during the first half of the twentieth century when Irving Berlin, the Gershwins, Cole Porter, and their contemporaries were at the height of their powers. The composers and lyricists of the Great American Songbook combined rich melodies, sophisticated, and smart rhythms with lyrics derived from the slangy vitality of American speech. They also pulled off two unlikely tricks: writing songs that sounded both familiar and fresh at the same time, and that combined sentiment and wit in a single lyric. Lasser weaves history and anecdote to give insight into what our greatest songwriters achieved and how they did it. Entertaining anecdotes about famous and forgotten songwriters alike shed light on the hard work, intelligence, intuition, and good luck that combine to make a good song. Michael Lasser talks about how they did it, song after song after song.

Following his talk, Lasser will take questions and sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase.

Michael Lasser is a lecturer, writer, broadcaster, critic, and teacher. He is the author of America’s Songs II: From the 1890s to the Post-War Years (2013), a companion volume to his and Philip Furia’s America’s Songs: The Stories Behind the Songs of Broadway, Hollywood, and Tin Pan Alley (2006). Since 1980, he has been the host of the nationally syndicated public radio show, Fascinatin’ Rhythm, winner of a 1994 Peabody Award. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he is the former theater critic for The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and CITY Newspaper, and for 30 years has spoken at museums and universities around the country. In 2010, he was named a Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Rollins College. He is currently at work on a third book, The Song Is Us: Love, Lyrics & American Life, 1900-1950.

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