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‘Tiptoe Through the '60s’ With Live Music, Photos and More on Oct. 18 at Hennepin County Library – Minneapolis Central
Do you have vivid memories of the 1960s or would you like to know more about that time? Adults are invited to enjoy “Tiptoe Through the ′60s: Songs and Stories From a Revolutionary Decade,” a free program of music performed live by singer Prudence Johnson and pianist Dan Chouinard, plus images from the 1960s projected onto large video screens, on Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m. at Hennepin County Library – Minneapolis Central, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis.
Advance registration is required and begins on Sept. 20.  Register online at www.hclib.org or call 612-543-8000.
The ′60s was an unforgettable era of counterculture and social revolution, equal rights and protest marches, war and peace, Kennedy’s Camelot and the moon landing, the Beatles and the “British invasion,” and other historical, political and cultural phenomena and events that transformed America forever. Experience or relive those years through music, stories and photos. Submit your own stories or song ideas to www.tiptoethroughthe60s.com for possible inclusion in the show.
Songs in the program are “Hit the Road, Jack,” “Abraham, Martin and John,” “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “You Don’t Own Me,” “Hello Muddah,” “Hello Dolly,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Moon River,” and many others. The audience is encouraged to sing along.
“Some of the songs were chosen for their subject matter,” Johnson said. “They connect with and advance the narrative on subjects like civil rights, the Women’s Movement, the Vietnam War. Some are good sing-along songs. Some are personal favorites that we just had to do.”
She added that “response [to the program] has been overwhelmingly positive. There are over 300 images from the period — archival photos, glimpses of advertisements, TV and movies, and a few of us and our families — which are shown on large video screens made to look like ′60s-style console TVs, so it’s visually rich. None of our audiences have needed any encouragement to sing along thus far — they belt ′em out. Also, because the Vietnam War loomed so large in peoples’ lives in the latter part of the decade, and because almost everyone who lived in that time was somehow affected, we have seen a powerful emotional response to that part of the show. Not to mention the impact of reflecting on the incredible acts of bravery and cruelty that are part of the Civil Rights story.”
Johnson said that she and Chouinard created the program because both enjoy projects that involve research and writing as part of the process, as well as adding a visual component that takes the performance beyond the usual concert experience.
“We created a show together a few years ago called ‘The Golden Age of Radio,’ a combination of history, music and pictures,” she said. “’Tiptoe Through the ′60s’ follows that model but, in my opinion, is even better because of Alan Frechtman’s work on the visual part of the show and the fact that Dan and I were both alive then and can add stories from our own lives — for example, me as a little kid in the early ′60s lying in the grass on clear days watching the sky for nuclear missiles, or Dan’s first ‘command performance’ on piano for the principal when he was in kindergarten.
“It was also such a powerful time in American history and there’s so much great music. We had to whittle our original song list down about two-thirds to fit the time limits. Also, both ‘Golden Age of Radio’ and this show were planned, in part, to complement the Minnesota Historical Society exhibits and activities.”
Johnson and Chouinard have performed “Tiptoe Through the ′60s” at several cities and towns in Minnesota, including three that were presented in tandem with the Minnesota Historical Society’s traveling “The 1968 Exhibit.”
The program is funded by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. For more information:  www.hclib.org

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