Several months ago, while moving into my forever home and unpacking countless boxes, I discovered a treasure trove: five linear feet of fin-de-siecle and early 20th c. sheet music.
The music belonged to my great-grandmother, who emigrated from Belgium in 1909 to become the governess to Ellin MacKaye, Irving Berlin's wife.
My interest was piqued. Here was the music that correlated with the Progressive Era, that rough-and-tumble time period when "America came of age". Here, right in front of me, was the actual sheet music - much of it now lost to the world - that would have shaped the way the (mostly female) artists who played it thought about themselves and their lives
Thus, I was set upon the journey of learning about my heroine - a budding American showgirl who joins the fight for women’s rights on the eve of World War I has to choose between her political beliefs, her family’s values, her career, and the music of her heart.
“People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.” - Dorothy Day, American Women's Rights Activist (November 8, 1897 – November 29, 1980)