Exhibit at military museum to feature music of WWI

Published on Wednesday, 8 November 2017 21:01
Written by Lorenzo Burgio


BRISTOL - The “Dances of World War I” event will capture the important role music played in keeping the spirits of locals up during a time of war.

The event is hosted by the Memorial Military Museum and the Bristol Historical Society to emphasize the "Over Here" aspect of the current exhibit “Over Here, Over There, Bristol in World War I,” explained Carol Denehy, vice president of the Memorial Military Museum.

“Dances of World War I” will be filled with music and dancing, explained Denehy, who added that Marc Casslar and Martha Griffin of Vintage Dance Society & Polite Society of Connecticut will be performing dances contemporary to World War I.

Casslar founded the Vintage Dance Society and has been involved in a variety of historical dance for roughly 40 years, and Victorian and Ragtime dancing for about 30 years. Griffin was introduced to vintage dance 30 years ago when she began stage managing for Polite Society and has since choreographed and arranged many of the society’s performances.

While soldier were out of the country, Denehy explained that music helped with the morale of those over here. Soldiers wrote many letters to family and friends during the war, though, some soldiers “spared the feeling of family and friends, and some did not,” she said. “Knowing some of the reality of what was going on, we traditionally used music to keep spirits up.”

“The point of the exhibit is to show how that music can tap into spirits, bravery and courage,” Denehy said, explaining that a large focus will be on how individuals on the home front kept their spirits up when there was “this horrific war going on where millions of men, women and children are dying, and then a pandemic of war related disease and the flu pandemic.”

There were many songs written during the war “just for that reason,” Denehy said, such as "Over There," "Pack Up Your Troubles," "Keep the Home Fires Burning," “It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary," "It's a Grand Old Flag," "Give My Regards to Broadway" and "Yankee Doodle Boy."

“It is such an ironic contrast with the horrific killings going on, not only in France, but in other lands of the world and on the sea with the German U-boats,” Denehy said, explaining that wartime casualties totaled 41 million, 18 million of which were military deaths and 23 million civilian.

The event will be held at the Bristol Historical Society at 98 Summer St. It is slated for Nov. 11, at 2 p.m. and is appropriate for all ages. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children, and also allows entry to the Memorial Military Museum. Refreshments will be served.

Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at lburgio@centralctcommunications.com    or 860-973-5088.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Arts, Bristol, Forestville, General News on Wednesday, 8 November 2017 21:01. Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2017 21:03.