Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The Golden Song Book

The Golden Song Book is an influential publication and a key document in establishing the canon of children’s music in the United States in the 20th century. It was first published in 1945. This is the 1975 edition and 27th printing. The songs were selected and arranged by Katherine Tyler Wessells with illustrations by Gertrude Elliott.

I love the illustrations and the inscription on the front endpaper of my copy.

The contents include nursery songs and other traditional songs, including minstrel songs like "Oh Susanna."

The first song in the book is "The Farmer in the Dell," with instructions on how to play the circle game assocated with the song.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Making Believe: The Wizard of Oz and the American Musical

When Dorothy and her friends discover that the Wizard is a humbug showman, he admits, "I have been making believe."

"Making believe" is, I argue, what makes The Wonderful Wizard of Oz an American fairy tale and why the genre of the musical has been popular for adapting the story. I like this concept of make-believe because it combines interior imagining with the idea of actively making or doing something--or to put it another way, performing. Participating in American musical theater is a great act of make-believe in which people perform their American identities. How appropriate, then, that the story known as "the American fairy tale" and the genre of the musical have such a close relationship, from the first Oz musical extravaganza to MGM's The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz, Wicked, and backyards and school theaters across the USA.

Read more about the Wizard, make-believe, and how The Wizard of Oz exemplifies the American musical in Oz and the Musical: Performing the American Fairy Tale.