Performances > performance and booking information > special programs

General concert and festival performances are available, as well as the following Special Programs that highlight specific themes and stories from America's past. These can be tailored for any age group.

Are you looking for a program with a theme that you don't see below? Call or email to let us know what you're looking for.

Ballad of America

Ballad of America

This is the story of the evolution of American music from Colonial America to the dawn of rock and roll. Since before the United States declared independence, songs and musical styles were brought to the New World by British colonists, African slaves, and immigrants from different parts of the world. New songs and styles grew out of encounters between these diverse people as well as the unique American experience itself. As America changed, grew, and pushed its boundaries, so did the music. The program includes traditional folk songs, spirituals, work songs, fiddle tunes, Appalachian music, ragtime, blues, jazz, old-time country, bluegrass, and early rock and roll.

   
Great American Folk Song Sing-Along

Great American Folk Song Sing-Along

This show features the most beloved, well-known American folk songs and the fascinating, lesser-known stories behind the songs. Everyone will sing along to classics, including Oh Susanna, Home on the Range, Down in the Valley, Down by the Riverside, and Yankee Doodle.

   
Over a Wide and Fruitful Land

Over a Wide and Fruitful Land

The journey begins in Colonial America and tells the story of the Westward Expansion of the United States. It follows the paths of the pioneers, sailors, lumberjacks, immigrants, ‘49ers, farmers, slaves, soldiers, cowboys, homesteaders, and railroaders who moved the country across the continent and into the twentieth century.

   

The American Dream

The American Dream

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

With these words from the Declaration of Independence, the American Dream was set in motion. This special program will have kids, parents, and grandparents singing along to traditional folk songs that explore the notion of the American Dream through the ages.

Click here to watch a preview video of The American Dream and to learn more.

   
Every Hero Has a Song

Every Hero Has a Song

Intertwining sing-along folk songs with the reading aloud of brief passages from children's books about heroes from United States history, young audiences are introduced to classic songs from our heritage as well as great, age-appropriate literature on a variety of historical topics.

The songs are authentic period folk songs that relate directly to the featured heroes. American heroes include George Washington, Harriet Tubman, John Henry, Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr. and more. The list of books featured in the show is available to presenters, who may choose to display and make them available to patrons.

   
Every Hero Has a Song

The American Folk Music Revival

In the twentieth century there were successive waves of folk music revivals as younger singers and folklorists became interested in older forms of American music. The revival peaked in the 1960s as the focus on traditional songs gave way to singer/songwriters who were informed by older music but wrote their own songs that addressed issues important for their generation. The program includes plenty of well-known songs by artists including Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives, The Weavers, The Kingston Trio, Odetta, Peter, Paul, & Mary, Bob Dylan, and more.

   
An American Read-and-Sing

An American Read-and-Sing

This unique program will help foster a love of reading in young audiences. Intertwining sing-along folk songs with the reading aloud of brief passages from children's books about United States history, young audiences are introduced to great age-appropriate literature on a variety of historical topics. The list of books featured in the show is available to presenters, who may choose to display and make them available to patrons. The book list, which includes titles for both younger and more advanced readers, may also be copied and distributed to audience members.

 

Click here for the book list and to learn more.

   

The Real Florida

The Real Florida

The Real Florida celebrates Florida’s rich heritage and diverse cultural history. From 1513 when Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon first set foot here through today, the story of Florida is one of land and water and people. Sing along to authentic songs about life in Florida while learning about the diverse people who have called this state home over the past 500 years. Starting with the Native Americans, Spanish, French, and British, the program moves through Florida's pioneer days, touching on slavery & the Civil War, the cattle and citrus industries, railroads and the rise of modern Florida, including contemporary issues such as conservation and the environment.

This program is a proud partner of Viva Florida 500, a statewide initiative led by the Florida Department of State to highlight the 500th anniversary in 2013 of the arrival of Juan Ponce de Leon to La Florida in 1513. Learn more by visiting Fla500.com and VivaFlorida.org.

Songs of the South

Songs of the South

The American South has always been a hotbed for cultural exchange, from the Germans, Scots-Irish, and African Americans in the Appalachian Mountains to the Spanish, French, African, English, Irish, and German traditions that fused into a truly American culture in New Orleans. Celebrate the history and heritage of the American South through traditional instruments and songs.

From Spirituals to Rock and Roll: The Story of African American Music

This special program focuses on the contributions to American music made by African Americans. The music of people in slavery, including spirituals, work songs, and banjo pieces, eventually blended with European-based musical traditions to create the uniquely American musical genres of ragtime, blues, jazz, gospel, bluegrass, country, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll.

   

Music of the American Revolution

Music is one of the ways that Patriots and Loyalists communicated and expressed ideas during the American Revolution. This program takes audiences on a journey from the early rumblings of discontent in Colonial America through the birth of the independent United States.

   

Tribute to American Soldiers

Tribute to American Soldiers

This performance focuses on the music from American military engagements, including the American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish American War, and both World Wars. Perfect for Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

 

Tribute to American Workers

Tribute to American Workers

This performance focuses on the songs of American workers, including farmers, sailors, lumberjacks, slaves, cowboys, railroad workers, coal miners, and more. It is a tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Perfect for Labor Day celebrations.

Songs of Rivers, Lakes, Canals, and Seas

Songs of Rivers, Lakes, Canals, and Seas

Set sail for adventure through the music, history, and folklore of America’s experience on the water – voyages across oceans, settlement and travel on rivers and canals, fishing in lakes, and more.

Songs in the Life of Abraham Lincoln

Songs in the Life of Abraham Lincoln

From a childhood on the American frontier to a presidency that changed the course of history, Abraham Lincoln's life unfolds through these Old World, play party, minstrel, campaign, slave, Civil War, and sentimental songs. The 16th president of the United States was a man of remarkable determination, compassion, honesty, humor, and melancholy. To explore the music he cherished is to better understand the man himself and the times in which he lived.

Songs of the Railroads

Songs of the railroad

Get the history of railroads in the United States and sing along to songs of classic railroad lines, work songs, and songs of riding the rails.

 

Special Programs Related to Historical Novels

Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Matthew Sabatella musically celebrates life on the Mississippi River and childhood in the time of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Mark Twain. Direct quotes from Mark Twain's great American novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer abound in this fun-filled musical program for all ages.

Little House on the Prairie

Little House on the Prairie

Laura Ingalls Wilder's classic novels are filled with references to folk songs and fiddle tunes. Matthew Sabatella plays and sings songs these songs and others from the late 1800s that make Little House on the Prairie come alive.

Whatever your budget, there is a special program that's right for your audience and venue.

Schedule a program today:

  • Matthew Sabatella (solo) - vocal, guitar, banjo, harmonica, mountain dulcimer
  • Matthew Sabatella + 1 (duo) - adds fiddle, bass fiddle, mandolin, or banjo
  • Matthew Sabatella and the Rambling String Band (5 musicians) - featuring Charles Anton (fiddle), Lynn Griffith (banjo and vocal), Chris DeAngelis (bass fiddle and vocal), and Sean Edelson (mandolin)

Booking Information

Call 305.753.1850 or email info@balladofamerica.com for pricing and more information.

Matthew Sabatella with guitar and banjo
Matthew Sabatella and the Rambling String Band are totally amazing! I cannot praise them enough! Matthew related all of the songs to the era of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. It was wonderful. The entire band is great! They are personable, relate to the audience and can perform almost anything I'm sure."
Nancy Ansley (Programs and Exhibits Supervisor)
Broward County Library
Matthew Sabatella at Broward County Library (Northwest Regional Branch) Matthew Sabatella at Library
Matthew Sabatella at Alvin Sherman Library 2

Testimonials

"Rare is the event that engages both me and my young ones in a genuine way."
Ben Crandell - Sun-Sentinel

“We are still talking about how great you and The Rambling String Band performed at this year’s All Kids Included Family Arts Festival. Thank you for your professionalism and exceptional artistry. We already know that we want you back for three sets next year, too!”
Carla Hill (Theater Education & Outreach Manager) - South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center

"Your program on Lincoln this past Sunday was awesome. Amazing how much you can tell about the man through his connection to music."
Patricia McDougle (V.P. Youth Education) - Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge

"Thank you for another GREAT performance and lesson in history! The music was outstanding!! We NEED so much more of this! I think you were able to see how the audience responded....the children were up dancing and the adults were singing and clapping along the whole time!! BRAVO!!!!"
Linda Gail Sindt - All Kids Love to Sing

"What an excellent production, performance, and presentation! Everyone should make an effort to attend one of his shows; it's perfect for all ages. You will be rewarded with a wealth of great music, singing and storytelling as you hear the true blue lyrics of the great folk songs of the U.S. This is an outstanding and original program."
Anne Kelly - Brockway Memorial Library

"What a great concert, thank you SO much for such a fun afternoon! Everyone in the audience, young and old alike, enjoyed hearing the stories and songs of our country. All the different instruments your band played, and hearing such beautiful vocal harmonies really made for a thrilling experience we will never forget."
Lisa Mansell (Sunday Matinee Music Series Manager) - Spanish River Library

"...Sabatella's best asset is easily his voice, urgent but unforced, sweetly melancholy in telling personal stories and powerfully evocative in rendering antiquated songs intimate again. It's a great gift, and Sabatella wields it with exceptional talent."
(read article)
"Best Acoustic Performer" - New Times Broward/Palm Beach - Best of 2005

“Through perseverance and hard work, American settlers turned their faces west toward the dream of finding new lives. In their struggle came the music presented by Mr. Sabatella. Matthew is a talented performer and a teacher not only of music, but of music which should be heard by all.”
Pastricia J. Adams-Sallustio (Social Studies Teacher) - Tequesta Trace Middle School

"Matthew Sabatella and the Rambling String Band are totally amazing! I cannot praise them enough! Matthew related all of the songs to the era of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. It was wonderful. The entire band is great! They are personable, relate to the audience and can perform almost anything I’m sure"
Nancy Ansley (Programs and Exhibits Supervisor) - Broward County Library

"Matthew Sabatella's Ballad of America is an interactive program that incorporates American history, stories, and music into one fun-filled, educational program for all ages."
Michele Dye (Naranja Branch Manager) - Miami-Dade Public Library System

Booking Information

Call 305.753.1850 or email info@balladofamerica.com for pricing and more information.

Copyright © 2012 by Ballad of America, All rights reserved.