Somebody once asked a gospel singer if he was an entertainer or a preacher.  He answered, “Yes.”

Michael Lasser in talks at museums, universities, performing arts centers, and libraries all over the country are, likewise, a mix of substance and entertainment, serious purpose and lighthearted irreverence.  After all, he says, “I’m talking about popular songs, not the future of the Republic.”

That doesn’t mean he isn’t serious about American songs and the men and women who wrote them. As he explains:

 

“One of the most telling moments happened at the end when you asked if anyone had questions.  One visitor said, ‘Yes.  Is there any more!’”

                   Melinda Georgeson
Director of Education
                   The Norman Rockwell Museum

"I do think popular music has something valuable to tell us about ourselves if we stop and listen to it. It opens a revealing and entertaining window on American attitudes for the last 150 years. For the last 25 of those years, I've been talking about popular music as social history--about songs and the America they reflect."

Lasser’s subjects range from the beginnings of the minstrel show in the 1830s to the arrival of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s.  In the last  years, he’s averaged more than two dozen talks and concerts per year in a total of 36 states and the District of Columbia – from Maine to California, Florida to Washington, Mississippi to Minnesota.

In addition to the talks, he also performs with singers Cindy Miller and Alan Jones. “Nobody in his right mind wants to hear me sing,” he says, “but Cindy and Alan have a gift for being able to perform the songs of two centuries with insight and delight, and my job is to give the songs context in an entertaining way.”

For more information about talks select the links below:
*
Current Calendar for Scheduled Talks
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Talks and Concerts - a partial list of available programs
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Select comments from talk organizers
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Where Michael has given his talks

Calendar of Scheduled Talks

 

2017

America's Unofficial Anthems

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Talk
Glenridge Performing Arts Center, Sarasota, FL

Hearing America Change: The Songs of World War I

Thursday, March 2, 2017
Talk and book signing
Honeoye Falls-Mendon Historical Society

Votes for Women / Songs for Women

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Talk
Central Branch, Rochester Public Library

From Slave to Citizen in Popular Songs

Thursday, May 18, 2017
Talk
Fort Smith (AR) Regional Art Museum

"Land That I Love": The Unlikely Story of Our Unofficial Anthems

Sunday, July 2, 2017
Talk
National Constitution Center, Philadelphia

"A Foggy Day": Broadway Musicals in the West End

July 11, 2017
Talk
Osher at RIT

Hearing America Change: The Songs of World War I

Sunday, October 29, 2017
Talk and Book Signing
Historic Brighton

"May Your Days Be Merry and Bright": The Unlikely Story of America's Christmas Anthem

Sunday, December 10, 2017
Talk and Book Signing
Henrietta Historical Society

2018

If It Wasn't for the Irish and the Jews

Wednesday, January 24, 2018, 7:30 pm
Talk
Glenridge Performing Arts Center, Sarasota, FL

Over Here: The Home Front Songs of World War I

Sunday, June 10, 2018
Talk
Fairfax Museum, Fairfax, VA

From World War I to the Jazz Age in American Popular Songs

Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 7:00 pm
Talk
Geneva Historical Society, Geneva, NY

 

 

 

 

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