Memorial Day weekend usually marks the opening of the Museum’s season and we have a long tradition of hosting a concert with singer and historian Diane Taraz. While we are not hosting any in-person events this Memorial Day, we will be sharing Diane’s new show Top to Toe in an online concert via Zoom on May 29. In this program, Diane Taraz explores the hats, shoes, and everything in between that have been an intrinsic part of cultures around the world. The ancient origins of spinning, weaving, and sewing are fascinating, and there are many songs and stories about them. Taraz will detail how clothing has both created and responded to social issues through history.
Taraz accompanies her crystal-clear singing on instruments appropriate to the era of each song. She will display items from her collection of antique fabric technology, including raw fibers, spindles, bobbins, and shuttles. She will also show some of her many hats, dresses, shoes, and accessories.
Among the songs will be A Rosebud in June, celebrating sheep shearing, and Serving Girl’s Holiday, about all the work a maid has to do before she can toss aside her spindle. Young Ladies in Town, from 1767, urges Colonial women to make homespun to avoid buying British cloth and pay those odious taxes.
The singer of The Bloomer’s Complaint from the 1860s declares her devotion to a scandalous new garment, and The Sewing Machine, from the early 1900s, laments that long working hours leave a young woman too tired to run around at night and get into trouble. Aragon Mill marks the loss of a mill and a way of life, and Taraz’s own song, Twelve to One, is inspired by the fact that it takes 12 times as long to spin thread as it does to weave it into cloth.
Taraz offers programs that use music to illustrate historical eras, including the American Revolution and the Civil War, or to examine a topic through history, such as Top to Toe. She has made over 20 albums and her original songs and interpretations of traditional ones enjoy a worldwide audience. Visit her website at www.dianetaraz.com.
This program will be held via Zoom and registration is required. The Zoom details to access the concert will be sent a few days in advance of the show.