Improvising a Conference Program

This past Friday was our annual June Baker Higgins Gender Studies Conference (see the program here.) Our keynote speaker cancelled due to a family emergency, so this forced me to improvise, literally, by putting together a lunchtime show of suffrage songs from the early twentieth century, with my colleague Beth Lorenzo from the Music Department singing lead and me on guitar and backup vocals. We performed “Uncle Sam’s Wedding,” set to “Yankee Doodle” and “Keep Woman in her Sphere” set to “Auld Lang Syne.” We even asked folks to sing along. This was my first time performing in front of an audience since I took up guitar again a few years ago and I must say it went a lot better than I expected. A friend recorded us on her digital camera so we should be on Youtube shortly!

I concluded the show by playing a Youtube video of a live performance the song “Suffering for Suffrage” from the Schoolhouse Rock cartoon of the same name.

The illustration above is one of the characters from the Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. Now, I was a big fan of Schoolhouse Rock, especially “Conjunction Junction,” but I don’t remember seeing this one. Maybe it wasn’t as widely circulated because it was, egads, “feminist”?

More summertime hobbies: guitar

I’m starting to practice more now that I don’t have papers to grade. The last lesson was also an excuse to try out my new Marantz PMD660 portable digital recorder, which I bought to record interviews and maybe do podcasts (although I’m not really inclined to do this for students who are too lazy to get to class). I’m pretty inept when it comes to electronics (or any other gadget) but this is pretty easy to figure out.

It was a good idea to tape the Travis picking that Josh showed me, because I pretty much managed to forget it a few days later! We’re working on “Landslide” (yes, the Stevie Nicks song, although in the key used by the Dixie Chicks since I don’t smoke so can’t reach Stevie’s lowest notes). Not ready for YouTube yet (or ever) but starting get it. He also recommended getting “Singing for Dummies” so that I can eventually get the hang of playing/singing at the same time.