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September 19, 2006
CD by Vanderbilt University Professors Added
NASHVILLE, TN - Happy Land, the first installment of a ten CD series based on the world renowned books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, is the first music recording to be added to a National Endowment for the Humanities collection of works which strengthen students understanding of American history and culture.

Produced by two Vanderbilt University professors, Happy Land: Musical Tributes to Laura Ingalls Wilder, is part of the new We The People Bookshelf from the NEH. This year's Bookshelf has the theme of Pursuit of Happiness, and includes Those Happy Golden Years by Wilder, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, Walt Whitmans Leaves of Grass and other classics of literature.

The NEH will distribute the works chosen to 2,000 public, school and military libraries in the United States and overseas.

"This kind of attention from the NEH is humbling," said Dale Cockrell, a professor of musicology at Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music.

"Those whose work sits on the We the People bookshelf are the heroes of my youth and of my adulthood. It is beyond an honor to occupy any of the space that they hallow."

Cockrell produced Happy Land with Butch Baldassari, an adjunct associate professor of mandolin at Blair.

The album of string band music, Stephen Foster classics and hymns and spirituals features song selections from the more than 120 songs that run through the plots of Wilder's eight Little House books (published by HarperTrophy). Songs including "Oh! Susanna" and "Barbara Allen" were given lively and contemporary acoustic arrangements meant to reintroduce children and adults to the musical heritage of America. The album features performances by Riders in the Sky, Dave Olney, Andrea Zonn, Deborah Pacard, Douglas P. Green, Keith Little and The Princely Players

Local school or community libraries could be eligible to receive the Bookshelf from the NEH and now is the time to start planning library programs on the "Pursuit of Happiness" theme. Guidelines and applications will be available online from September 19, 2006, through January 21, 2007.

The 2nd installment in the Pa's Fiddle Project, Arkansas Traveler: Music from Little House on the Prairie, will release Nov. 14th, kicking off with a one-hour NPR Holiday Special program featuring interviews, readings, commentary, and about ten songs from the album in addition to being hosted by Riders in the Sky. The special will broadcast in December with an estimated 150-200 NPR stations nationwide carrying the program. Arkansas Traveler features performances by John Cowan, Alison Brown, Riders in the Sky, Andrea Zonn, Mac Wiseman, Judith Edelman, Elizabeth Cook and numerous others.

This 2nd part of the series also hits the streets in time to honor the 140th Anniversary of the birth of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the 50th Anniversary of her death and the 75th Anniversary of the first publication of the first book - Little House in the Big Woods in 1932.

For more information on the NEH's We the People program, go to on the internet.

For more information on Happy Land and Arkansas Traveler: Music from Little House on the Prairie, go to

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