FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2008
Contact: Jennifer M. Guild, Senior Officer for Public Relations and Marketing
Tel: (804) 342-9665 | Email:
Decades After Her Death, Fans Are Still Crazy About Patsy Cline
Symposium and Concert at VHS Explore Virginian's Life and Music
Richmond, VA – At a time in American history characterized by the Cold War, stay-at-home moms, social suppression, and suburbia, how did the beer-drinking, rule-breaking, fringe-wearing, divorced high school drop-out Patsy Cline emerge?
On Friday, April 4, 2008, the Virginia Historical Society (VHS), in partnership with the Community History Project of Shenandoah University, will host a day-long symposium to discuss that very issue. "Sweet Dreams: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline" brings together scholars, authors, and historians who will survey the life of recording artist Patsy Cline, her history, and her enduring legacy. To conclude the conference, Richmond radio personality and music producer Tim Timberlake has created a Patsy Cline review featuring celebrated performers and special guest singers.
"Patsy Cline is arguably Virginia's most significant contribution to twentieth-century American popular culture," said Paul Levengood, Managing Editor of the Society's Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. "More than forty years after her death, Patsy's life and timeless music continue to fascinate and entertain. And, the twentieth-century was the period in which Virginia changed the most. More and more, the Historical Society is using pop culture stories to demonstrate the scope and depth of changes in the state's history."
Patsy Cline (1932–1963), born Virginia P. Hensley in Winchester, Virginia, has been called "the most popular female country singer in recording history" by the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her brief career produced the number one jukebox hit of all time, "Crazy," and her Greatest Hits album, with more than ten million copies sold, is among the elite few to have reached "Diamond" status (others include The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, U2's The Joshua Tree, Michael Jackson's Thriller, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Live 1975–1985).
Despite the hard-luck stories and the tragic nature of a singing career cut short, Patsy Cline is regularly invoked as the standard for female vocalists, both pop and country, and remains a powerful source of inspiration. She has had a lasting impact on the recording industry as a whole and paved the way for the brightest female talents of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
By examining various factors in Patsy Cline's story—the social and political climate, early musical influences, her role as a female pioneer in a male-dominated industry, and her musical accomplishments—the symposium will shed light on why this Virginian is so important and how her life's journey is entwined with our history as a state and a nation.
"Discussing Patsy Cline's career is a wonderful way of exploring themes in American history in the 1950s," said Warren Hofstra, Professor of History at Shenandoah University and symposium co-organizer and presenter. "Her story as a struggling artist says a lot about the period and community from which she came."
To register for the event, please visit www.vahistorical.org or call (804) 342-9673. To enhance the experience, symposium and concert attendees are encouraged to wear Patsy Cline-inspired attire.
"Sweet Dreams: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline" is organized with support from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Norfolk Southern.
The Virginia Historical Society is located at 428 N. Boulevard. The Story of Virginia, An American Experience, a 10,000-square-foot exhibition with more than a thousand objects covering all of Virginia history from prehistoric
times to the present is featured in the Robins Center for Virginia History. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am - 5pm
and Sunday 1pm - 5pm (Museum Galleries only). Admission: $5/adults, $4/seniors 55+ ($2/Tuesdays–galleries
only), $3/children and students, free/members. Admission to the galleries is free on Sundays. For group tour
information, call (804) 342-9652. For more information, please call (804) 358-4901 or visit