Over Here & Over There:
Songs From And About The Great War (WWI)
Presented By Tom Callinan
Victory Medal (front + back) and ribbon (above) from World War I
(a.k.a. "The Great War For Civilization")
In honor of the Centennial of the United States' active involvement in World War I (1917), Tom Callinan, designated Connecticut's 1 st Official State Troubadour in 1991, has developed a program of diverse songs from and about World War I.
Post-War Commemorative Watch Fob (front + back)
Interspersed with the music, and through the prism of history, Mr. Callinan weaves a narrative regarding some of the contributing factors, which made "The War To End All Wars" the first modern war. Prior to President Wilson's request to Congress for a Declaration Of War in 1917, the slaughter had dragged on for nearly 3 years, killing many millions of combatants and civilians. Although the United States had adopted an official position of isolationism, it maintained transatlantic trade with our allies in Europe. However, with continued German U-Boat attacks on merchant and passenger shipping and other factors at home and abroad, the veil of neutrality inevitably fell, and the United States committed her nation's blood and treasure to the fray – initially with a volunteer military, and then a draft.
American Expeditionary Forces, A. E. F.
The songs in Tom's program represent a mixture of moods: patriotic songs that accompanied the troops marching off to war, full of exuberance and bravado; popular songs from the music halls, and Tin Pan Alley; songs of farewell; others that dealt with the loss of innocence, resulting from the soldiers' time spent overseas; the most popular anti-war song of the period; and contemporary, retrospective songs. Among the latter group is Tom's original composition, "Searching For Great-Uncle Jerry", written in honor of his late great-uncle Jeremiah J. Coleman, who was killed in action in France in 1918.
Private Jeremiah J. Coleman
Interred at St. John's Cemetery
Gravestone Inscription: Jeremiah J. Coleman
Co. G • 307 th Infantry Regiment *
77 th Infantry Division
Died August 23, 1918
Chateau Thierry, France • Age 24
Tom Callinan's entertaining and informative narrative style brings audiences of all ages into the performance with catchy choruses, interesting anecdotes, and an assortment of musical instruments from the string, wind, and percussion families.