Ballad of America Live

Multimedia Programs: Online or In-Person

Ballad of America Live multimedia programs entertain, inspire, and inform. In each of the following programs, Matthew Sabatella weaves an engaging narrative through a selection of songs and historic images that illuminate a theme or story from America's past. They can be delivered at live in-person events or in an online format, such as Zoom, GoToWebinar, etc.

Contact us for more information.

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America's Music: From Plymouth Rock to Rock & Roll was a highlight of OLLI Boca's Fall season. Patrons found it not only informative but wonderfully entertaining. Attendees thoroughly enjoyed this tour through American music; as one said of the program, “One of the best in 10 years at Lifelong Learning!”
Judith A. Scara, Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Florida Atlantic University

Thank you for another fun and fascinating lesson on American musical history!  My kids and I absolutely loved it!  It was so interesting to see how the influences of African rhythms and European instruments combined to create many uniquely American genres of music that spread to other areas of the world. It’s wonderful how music can uplift and inspire people of different backgrounds to overcome adverse circumstances and act as a great unifier.
Kerri P, Homeschool Parent

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America's Music: From Plymouth Rock to Rock & Roll

America's Music: From Plymouth Rock to Rock & Roll
America's Music: From Plymouth Rock to Rock & Roll

Since before the United States declared independence, songs and musical styles were brought to the New World by British colonists, African slaves, and immigrants from different parts of the world. New songs and styles grew out of encounters between these diverse people as well as the unique American experience itself. As America changed, grew, and pushed its boundaries, so did the music. This program takes the audience on a journey that connects traditional folk songs, spirituals, work songs, fiddle tunes, Appalachian music, ragtime, blues, rhythm and blues, jazz, old-time country, bluegrass, and early rock & roll.

This can be delivered in a single session or an expanded two or four-part presentation.

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Songs of Westward Expansion

Songs of Westward Expansion

When the American Revolution ended, the United States was just a narrow strip of land along the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout the nineteenth century, the boundaries of the country expanded as Americans pushed westward in pursuit of land, riches, and adventure. In this program, the songs of the people tell their story. The journey begins in Colonial America and follows the paths of the pioneers, sailors, immigrants, ‘49ers, farmers, slaves, soldiers, cowboys, homesteaders, and railroaders who moved the country across the continent and into the twentieth century.

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Songs of the American Folk Music Revival

Songs of the Folk Music Revival

During the twentieth century, successive waves of singers and folklorists became interested in older forms of American music. The folk music revival peaked in the 1960s as the focus on traditional songs gave way to singer/songwriters who were informed by older music but wrote their own songs that addressed issues important for their generation. This program includes plenty of well-known songs by artists including Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives, The Weavers, The Kingston Trio, Odetta, Peter, Paul, & Mary, Bob Dylan, and more.

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Songs of American Workers

Songs of American Workers

Music has been tied to work at least since the beginning of recorded history. People have sung songs while working. They have sung about work, working conditions, and other issues of concern to workers. This program tells the story of labor in the United States through the songs of workers and labor movements. It includes music of farmers, lumberjacks, slaves, indentured servants, factory workers, railroad workers, coal miners, unions, and more.

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Songs in the Life of Abraham Lincoln

Songs in the LIfe of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was a man of remarkable determination, compassion, honesty, humor, and melancholy. This program celebrates the 16th president of the United States through the music he cherished. From a childhood on the American frontier to a presidency that changed the course of history, Lincoln's life unfolds through these Old World, play party, minstrel, campaign, slave, Civil War, and sentimental songs.

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Tribute to American Soldiers

Tribute to American Soldiers

This program focuses on the music from American military engagements, including the American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish-American War, and both World Wars. It is perfect for Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

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Singing the American Dream

Singing the American Dream

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

With these words from the Declaration of Independence, the American Dream was set in motion. This program explores the notion of the American Dream through the music of the people.

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The Story of the Banjo

The Story of the Banjo

How did the banjo, which has roots in West Africa, become a symbol of rural white America? Along the way, the instrument took center stage in America's most popular entertainment form in the mid-19th century and found a home in the Victorian parlor. This program tells the story of the banjo from its African roots through its development in the Caribbean, early history with people in slavery in North America, growth in popularity through blackface minstrel performances, integration into dance and song traditions in Appalachia, and its role in 20th and 21st century ragtime, jazz, folk, old-time, bluegrass, country, popular, and world music.