Music

Amazing Grace

History of Amazing Grace, part 1

By billpetro / February 23, 2021 /

HISTORY OF AMAZING GRACE, part 1 On February 23, 1807, the British parliament passing a bill banning the nation’s slave trade. In these two articles, we’ll explore the lives of two men and one song that played a large role in that effort. John Newton‘s devoted Christian mother dreamed that her only son would grow…

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History of The Beatles

By billpetro / February 7, 2021 /

HISTORY OF THE BEATLES On February 7, 1964, The Beatles landed at JFK Airport in New York. The airport had recently been renamed by a mourning country in honor of President Kennedy, who had been assassinated just 77 days earlier. The airport was now full of 4,000 greeters. Not realizing why there was such a…

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Peter Pan

History of Peter Pan: the Story Behind the Disney Classic

By billpetro / February 5, 2021 /

HISTORY OF PETER PAN All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again. So begins my favorite Walt Disney animated movie, Peter Pan, which debuted 68 years ago today on February 5, 1953. The original movie poster said: “It will live in your heart forever” …and indeed it has. Why was this…

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American Pie

History of The Day The Music Died

By billpetro / February 3, 2021 /

HISTORY OF THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED On February 3, 1959, a plane crash occurred in Iowa during a snowstorm shortly after 1 am which killed three young rock and roll singers who would go down in history: Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. Their story would later be captured as…

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Beethoven

History of Beethoven: 250th Anniversary — 5 Things You Didn’t Know

By billpetro / December 17, 2020 /

HISTORY OF BEETHOVEN: 250TH ANNIVERSARY — 5 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW The renowned German composer and virtuoso pianist Ludwig van Beethoven celebrates his 250th anniversary today. Anniversary of what? Here are 5 things you may not have known about the famous composer who came to fame between the Classical and Romantic periods of European music.  …

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Christmas Music

History of Christmas Music: More than just Carols?

By billpetro / December 4, 2020 /

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS MUSIC Music early became a marked feature of the Christmas season. But the first chants, litanies, and hymns were in Latin and deemed too theological for popular use. Under Francis of Assisi’s influence in the 13th century, we began to see the rise of the carol written in the vernacular. The word carol comes…

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Covent Garden Theatre inside

History of A Sacred Oratorio: How was popular Christmas music considered scandalous and profane?

By billpetro / December 3, 2020 /

HISTORY OF A SACRED ORATORIO The genteel reception accorded the original debut performance stood in marked contrast to the savage hostility which greeted the work less than a year later in the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, London. The English aristocracy and churchmen began an unrelenting campaign against the work and its creator. They labeled…

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History of Woodstock: Over 50 Years Ago

By billpetro / August 15, 2020 /

HISTORY OF WOODSTOCK August 15 marks the anniversary of the “3 Days of Peace & Music” held in 1969 at Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm in the rural town of Bethel, New York, southwest of the village of Woodstock. I’d like to share with you what it was like to be there — the music,…

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Hamilton -- The Musical

History of Hamilton – The Musical

By billpetro / July 3, 2020 /

HISTORY OF HAMILTON – THE MUSICAL Hamilton – The Musical, how accurate historically is the recent Broadway blockbuster, currently available on Disney+ TV?  It’s based on the 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, but does Hamilton – The Musical compare favorably to the actual history? The Set-Up As an aficionado of musical theatre…

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