On Monday evening, November 19th at 6:30 PM in the downstairs Lane Room, Exeter scholar and musician Richard Kruppa will present a program of stories and songs popular in America at the beginning of the 20th century. Europe was in turmoil in the early teens. Monarchies were flexing their muscles seeking to expand their borders, and their emboldened leaders brought war to the continent. The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917 and entered into the “Great War” that had begun in Europe three years earlier. Nineteen months later the War concluded with the armistice signed on November 11, 1918.
While people were singing Over There Richard reveals what was happening at the time and with the music over here. In Songs and Stories from World War I - One Hundred Years Later, he reviews the major events of the war and sings the songs that were popular in the day, accompanying himself on guitar, banjo, and baritone ukulele. Further, he tells interesting stories of how the songs related to the life and the times of Americans in that era. And the songs have remained familiar and beloved to this day. Songs like: Alexander's Ragtime Band, Over There, For Me and My Gal, and How You Gonna’ Keep 'em Down on the Farm.
A member of the New England Foundation for the Arts, Richard is professor emeritus from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and he studied American folk and Gospel music as a graduate student.