Traveling history exhibit of Jewish-American songwriters now at Palladium
The Great American Songbook Foundation has teamed up with Central Indiana community organizations to highlight the cultural contributions of songwriters from Jewish immigrant backgrounds.
A traveling museum-style exhibit titled A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, 1910-1965 uses text and imagery from Broadway musicals, classic films, posters and personal collections to tell the stories of great composers and lyricists. The featured artists include Harold Arlen (“Over the Rainbow,” “Stormy Weather”), Irving Berlin (“God Bless America,” “White Christmas”), GeorgeGershwin (“Rhapsody in Blue,” An American in Paris) and the stage musical team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein (The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Oklahoma!).
All came from families that immigrated to America in the 1800s or fled persecution in Europe at the turn of the 20 th century. Their popularity was fueled by the advent of the radio receiver, the broadcasting microphone, the talking movie, the long-playing record and other inventions that brought music to mass audiences.
“It is truly remarkable how many of the timeless standards of American popular music came from artists of Jewish heritage – even the Christmas songs,” said Chris Lewis, Executive Director of the Great American Songbook Foundation. “In light of the holiday season, and some of the disturbing incidents of bigotry and anti-Semitism we have seen locally and across the country in recent years, we thought this was an important time to celebrate not only the contributions of these immigrant writers but also the shared human values reflected in their work.”
The exhibit, maintained in the Foundation’s Songbook Archives Library, will be available for viewing from now until January 31 at The Palladium! This is free of charge and open to the public. The project includes a social media component. Visit the Great American Songbook Foundation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SongbookFoundation) for additional information. You may also contact Executive Director Chris Lewis at (317) 844-9446 or visit TheSongbook.org.