Bill’s programs have been described as a cross between a book talk and a music concert. He combines story telling, original songs, and video clips to create programs that are as entertaining as they are informative, as honest as they are fun! Audience participation is encouraged with questions and sing along.
Stories about poverty, sacrifice and comradery!
Over 3 million 17-25 year old young men across America enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corps during The Great Depression. They came from families on relief and were sent to work camps in America's wilderness and rural areas. They planted trees, fought forest fires, constructed roads, worked on soil erosion control programs and participated in thousands of projects restoring our nations natural resources. In the process, the CCC turned boys into men, teaching them good work habits and responsibility.
Since 1992, Bill has interviewed hundreds of former CCC enrollees and used their stories in his PBS Documentary CAMP FORGOTTEN, his historical novel BIG SHOULDERS and his CD of songs, DOLLAR-A-DAY BOYS.
Bill shares many of these stories about the men and the projects they completed across the country. He takes his audience on a rollicking journey back to the days when Benny Goodman was the king of swing and a soda cost a nickel. Bill performs a half dozen original songs in each program, reads from his novel and shows a short clip from his video. The stories are sometimes hilarious, and often heart warming, his presentation is a must for anyone who enjoys 1930's history.
Stories about immigrants, hardship and celebration!
Michigan's Upper Peninsula has been called the "Alaska of the Midwest." It has a colorful history all its own due to it's unique geography. Bill lived in the U.P. for ten years collecting stories from former iron miners, ski jumpers, trappers and more. He combined these stories and songs into a program that has a surprise around every corner!
Many of the songs and stories about mining towns took place during The Great Depression. It was a time when boys carried their skis to school in the winter to practice ski jumping during recess. There are songs about thimble berries which are unique to the U.P., songs about pasties, which is the favorite food of the miners and songs about the Finnish bath, the Saturday night sauna!
Tall Tales, True Stories and foot tapping songs!
Journey back to the days of choppers and skidders, when men ate huge breakfasts. It was days when men ate huge breakfasts before entering the woods for a long day of chopping and hauling logs. The only thing bigger than their appetites were the tall tales they told in the bunkhouse. Bill shares many of these tales along with true stories about the lives of walking bosses, river hogs, top loaders and teamsters. Lumberjack stories offer a colorful view of our past that appeals to audiences of all ages.
Traditional songs include: James Whalen tells the story of a young man who lost his life while breaking up a log jam. Boys Stay Away from Girls is a humorous look at marriage; Jolly Shanty Boy describes the antics of lumberjacks when they “blew” into town in the spring with their earnings. Little Eau Pleine is the story of a woman who lost her man to the river. Sixteen Men in a Pine Slab Bunk pokes fun at the living conditions found in a bunkhouse.