The Greater Falmouth Mostly All-Male Men’s Chorus will present its spring concerts, “We the People: Songs of Protest, Patriotism, and Peace,” on Saturday, June 7, at 7:30 PM, and Sunday, June 8, at 3 PM at St. Patrick’s Church, 511 Main Street in Falmouth.
Dan Tritle, host of “Morning Edition” on WCAI-FM, will be the guest narrator for the concerts, which will tell the story of America in quotations and songs from this country and around the world.
“We have interwoven the songs and narration,” said John Dulina, director of the chorus. “The result is a rich and varied tapestry of musical selections interspersed among some of our history’s most famous quotes and speeches. Dan Tritle will bring it all together in a way that will truly engage the audience.”
“Storytelling is also a significant part of American history,”Mr. Tritle said, “and much of that storytelling is in the form of music and song. I’m happy to be part a part of this production.”
In addition to his work with WCAI, Mr. Tritle is frequently on stage at the Woods Hole Theater Company, the Barnstable Comedy Club, Cotuit Center for the Arts and the Cape Cod Theater Project. He recently appeared as Dracula in the Falmouth Theatre Guild’s production of “Young Frankenstein.”
For “We the People,” Mr. Dulina has selected songs from the Civil War era, such as “Ching a Ring Chaw,” a traditional song arranged by Aaron Copland and included in his “Old American Songs,” and the civil rights movement, songs about following a dream and about immigrants for who this country was a symbol of hope, liberty, and justice for all.
“What is so interesting to me,” Mr. Dulina said, “is that throughout history, songs that some people have perceived as songs of protest were perceived by others as songs of patriotism or peace.”
Mr. Dulina cites three songs from the “We the People” program: Pete Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer,” the traditional gospel song, “Rock My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham,” and Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” all popularized by Peter, Paul and Mary.
“These songs in particular,” he said, “are really songs of protest, but when you look at a period of history, like the Vietnam War, the people protesting the war felt they were patriots. They were looking for peace. Peter, Paul and Mary were certainly protesting, but not because they were anti-American; they were protesting because they really loved this country and hated what was going on abroad.”
Mr. Guthrie wrote “This Land is Your Land” as protest against Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” which he felt expressed a kind of mindless patriotism, ignoring problems of inequity in this country. It was perceived by some as Marxist.
Today, however, Mr. Dulina said, many sing Mr. Guthrie’s song as a patriotic anthem.
The GFMAMMC is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2015, and one of the steps the group is taking to ensure another 25 years is to become even more involved with the community, Mr. Dulina said.
“The chorus sings at Falmouth’s Veterans Day and Memorial Day observances, and bringing in community personalities like Dan brings a new dimension to our concerts and a little more of the community into our group,” he said.
Concert tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at the door or in advance from a chorus member or at Eight Cousins Books in Falmouth.