DENVILLE, NJ-- Singer Diane Cypkin performed a concert at the Denville library that focused on love songs from World War II. The audience swayed, clapped, and sang along to the many songs about loved ones that were away during the war and the joy when they returned home.
Cypkin, along with her accompanying pianist, gave a quick history lesson before each song, teaching the audience details surrounding the origins of the song. Mixed in were trivia questions about the songwriter and locations that songs were inspired by, in addition to questions about the war.
Songs by the Andrews Sisters, Edith Piaf, and Harry Warren took center stage as Cypkin danced along to the words. Cypkin invited the audience to sing along with her for the last song, It’s Been a Long, Long Time, as the room erupted to join in.
Cypkin gave some personal insight into her family’s history, explaining why she continues to put on a performance with songs from World War II. Her parents, Holocaust survivors from Lithuania, moved to Germany and awaited passage to America. It was during the family’s time in a displacement camp in Germany that was run by Americans that Cypkin was born. It’s those experiences, mixed with her parents’ stories of liberation, which give these songs a special place in her heart.
“This performance is my way of saying thank you and to remember my parents. And it’s also a way of saying thank you to the Allied forces that liberated them,” Cypkin said.
Songs from World War II also remind her of a time when music was about the words, rhythm, and melodies that songwriters carefully placed throughout the pieces.
“These days it’s easy to memorize songs, it’s just one word over and over again,” Cypkin said. “Back in those days it was hard to choose the best song of the year because there were so many good songs being written.”
Next on Cypkin’s plate is a show featuring music from the famous composer Harry Warren, a show she has always wanted to perform. When not performing or planning new acts, Cypkin is a professor at Pace University in New York City and teaches public speaking and acting.