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A Special presentation
for the bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark Expedition
'Cross The Wide Missouri
(A Troubadour's Reflection On An American Dream)
By Bill Schustik

"'CROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI" is a delightful yet moving 50 to 60 minute musical reflection on the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804 - 1806) by American Troubadour, BILL SCHUSTIK. Once again, Bill resurrects our ancestral spirits with America's music and memories.

This time Bill takes us back 200 years into the American Heroic Age. We are launched into our journey with America's haunting ballad, Oh SHENANDOAH! You will be mesmerized as Bill carries us through the high fever of republican victory, religious enlightenment, revolutionary zeal, dreams of an endless, bountiful frontier, empire, a lot of near misses and plain good luck. All of these adventures, of course, are highlighted in song—beautiful songs that can thrill and still tug at your heartstrings. Many of the tunes are familiar, like old friends. That's because these are the old songs, the very songs that entertained, consoled and still speak for our folk who were stumbling and racing with our dreams into tho golden promise of the setting sun...a thousand miles away, 'CROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI.

Our new nation is gifted with abundant blessings, including a whole new, largely unknown continent to call it's own, tho Louisiana Purchase. In this "Garden of Eden" Lewis, Jefferson and Clark hope to find herd of woolly mammoths, maybe Welsh Indians, the lost tribes of Israel, endless fields of bounty and the true "Northwest Passage," a fabled western river to carry our bounty to the Pacific, the Orient and beyond. But this dream of a democratic mercantile empire is tempered by natural realities and a few glaring inconsistencies. Two of the most effective folk in the Corps of Discovery for this free democratic republic happen to be slaves, a Shoshone teenaged mother, Sacajawea (The Salish Song of Longing), and the personal manservant of Clark's, great bear of a man, York. Also, for Aaron Burr and some others back east, Jefferson's "unsullied gift from nature" is a chance for a personal empire that would stretch from the Mississippi River down through Mexico and over to the Pacific Ocean (The Drum).

This Troubadour's Reflection is not only a rendering of the songs the men danced to when Lewis called for tho fiddle (The Girl I Left Behind," "The Pesky Serpent," "Billy Boy"). This is also a musical celebration of a young nation ("Hail Columbia," "Yankee Doodle," "The Rifles of Kentucky").

Surely these" young explorers carried their "pop" songs into the wilderness ("Oh Dear, What Can The Matter Be?," "Endearing Young Charms," "The Riddle Song," "Auld Lang Syne," "To Anacreon In Heaven").

And finally, through the music of these legendary voyagers we catch a glimpse into the soul of the people ("Wayfaring Stranger," "The Shaker Hymn"), their fears, their aspirations and their dreams; the song of a Troubadour:

Farewell my love, I'm bound to leave you
Far away, you rolling river
Oh Shenandoah, I'll not deceive you
Away, I'm bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri

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