American Classics Announces 2011-12 Season, Begins 11/4

Now in its 16 year, New England's critically-acclaimed presenter of American Music, American Classics (www.amclass.org), announces its 2011 - 2012 Season which will musically pay tribute to the 150 anniversary of the Civil War, baseball and the 100 birthday of Boston's beloved Fenway Park, and the glory days of America's Girl Groups. Now an American Classics tradition, highlights of each concert will include musical selections that are both popular and rare along with a wonderfully entertaining guided tour of each musical era.

Rally Round the Flag - American Classics marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in songs from the battlefield to the parlor by Stephen Foster, Henry Clay Work, George F. Root and others, from the stirring call of "The Battle Cry of Freedom" to the poignancy of "The Vacant Chair." Performances are Friday November 4 at 7:30pm at Follen Community Church, 755 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA and Sunday November 6 at 3pm at Longy School of Music/Pickman Hall, 27 Garden Street, Cambridge.

Fabulous Fenway - Boston's beloved ballpark turns 100 in 2012. American Classics takes you out to the ballgame with "That Baseball Rag" and other great songs celebrating our National Pastime. Join Ben, Brad and some AC favorites for nine innings of a musical celebration of baseball and Fenway Park! Performances are Friday March 2 at 7:30pm at Follen Community Church, 755 Massachusetts Avenu, Lexington and Sunday March 4 at 3pm at Longy School of Music/Pickman Hall, 27 Garden Street, Cambridge.

Girl Power - A trio of outstanding performers called Goody Goody! include Valerie Anastasio, Mary Ann Lanier and Heather Peterson, and the pianist Robert Humphreville celebrate the thrilling close harmonies, tight rhythms, and fabulous blends of the great American girl groups from the early days of The Brox Sisters, the Pickens Sisters and those jazzy Boswells to the glory days of the Andrews Sisters and on to The McGuire Sisters, the Shirelles, the Ronettes, the Crystals, and more. Some of the marvelous songs on the program are "On the Atcheson, Topeka, and the Santa Fe," "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?," "Soldier Boy," "Sincerely," "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön," "Cheek to Cheek, " and "Something's Gotta Give." Performances are Friday, May 18 at 7:30pm at Pickman Concert Hall Longy School of Music, 27 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA and Sunday, May 20 at 3:00 pm at Follen Community Church, 755 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington.

All tickets are $25 and Students/Seniors $20. For tickets and information call 617-254-1125 or visit http://www.amclass.org.

OUR HISTORY AND FUTURE.

American Classics was founded in 1996 by The Camptown Ladies (Mary Ann Lanier & Sylvie Stewart), Benjamin Sears & Bradford Conner (www.benandbrad.com) and Margaret Ulmer as a summer concert series at the Swedenborg Chapel in Cambridge, MA. Concerts for American Music Week in November and a Christmas concert soon were added to the schedule and, in 1999, they moved performances to the Longy School of Music in Cambridge. Now in its 16 season, American Classics has established itself as the "go to" presenters of first revivals such as Irving Berlin's first two Broadway shows, Watch Your Step (2000) and Stop! Look! Listen! (2002), both in reconstructions by Ben and Brad. They also reconstructed the original stage version of The Band Wagon (2001) which had not been performed since it closed on tour in 1932; this production won a special IRNE award. Ben and Brad also reconstructed Irving Berlin's Yip Yip Yaphank (2010) for another first revival, and their research created a special program of selections from Berlin's four Music Box Revues in 2005. Other significant revivals include Romberg's Blossom Time (2009), The Gershwins' Strike Up The Band (Boston premiere of the original 1927 version in 2004), Rodgers & Hart's Peggy Ann (2003), and selections from Jerome Kern's She's a Good Fellow.

Women songwriters, Ragtime, and America's folk music play an important role in American Classics programming. The 2006 season highlighted Margaret Ulmer's expertise in ragtime piano playing as she organized repertoire and some of the Boston area's best players to create a critically acclaimed Ragtime Festival. Ms. Lanier and Ms. Ulmer curated concerts featuring the works of American literary greats, folk music, popular song, and contemporary gems in Carl Sandburg and His Songbag (2008) and Back in the Saddle (2009). In 2005 and 2006 Mary Ann collaborated with local composers Charles Shadle and Graham Gordon Ramsay to premiere two commissioned works.

The 2010-2011 American Classics season featured a trio of centennial tributes including one of the Boston area's few Frank Loesser tributes Luck Be a Lady and the only celebration of the 100th birthday of Irving Berlin's "Alexander's Ragtime Band" with Berlin's daughter, granddaughter, and Rogers & Hammerstein's Ted Chapin in the audience. Four weeks later they followed up with a Scott Joplin concert featuring instrumental rags and selections from the still rarely performed opera Treemonisha on the hundredth anniversary of it's publication.

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