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:
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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

Michael Talks 

Calendar of Scheduled Talks

2019

"Halfway to Heaven and You": Songs About the Suburbs

Monday, April 8, 2019,  3:00 pm
Talk
Cloverwood, Pittsford, New York

America's Unofficial Anthems

Thursday, April 25, 2019
Talk
St. John's Meadows, Rochester, NY

 "Sweet Cider Time When You Were Mine": Songs About the Midwest

Thursday, May 23, 2019
Talk
Ames Historical Society, Ames, IA

The Songs of World War I

Friday, May 24, 2019
Talk
Iowa Veterans Home, Marshalltown, IA

Angels & Urchins: Children in 19th Century American Song

Saturday, May 25, 2019
Talk
Museum of Danish America, Elk Horn, IA

Brigadoon and the Rediscovery of America

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Talk and book signing
Osher at RIT

City Songs and American Life, 1900-1950

Monday, September 16, 2019, 6:30pm
Talk and book signing
New York Society Library

City Songs and American Life, 1900-1950

Monday, September 23, 2019, 7:00pm
Interview and book signing
Geva Theater Center

City Songs and American Life, 1900-1950

Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Talk and book signing
Wilmot Library, Nazareth College

City Songs and American Life, 1900-1950

Wednesday, October 23 or 30, 2019
Talk and book signing
Greenwich (CT) Public Library

"Halfway to Heaven and You": Songs About the Suburbs

Sunday, December 1, 2019,  2:00 pm
Talk and book signing
Historic Brighton

Three Iconic Songs

Monday, December 18, 2019
Talk and book signing
Memorial Art Gallery Council, Rochester, NY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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