Free Civil War Music at Gettysburg, August 19 & 20
Gettysburg, Pa. – Performances by authentic Civil War musicians will fill the air on August 19 & 20 at Gettysburg National Military Park during the 16th Annual Gettysburg Music Muster. This one-of-a-kind music muster, much of it played on original instruments, includes songs of balladeers, Victorian dance music and dance performances, along with fifes, banjo, mandolin, and more.
This free, public event is sponsored by Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation.
The Gettysburg Music Muster will include performances by the Susquehanna Travellers who will be performing with the Victorian Dance Ensemble as well as solo. The Victorian Dance Ensemble will call and perform several dance numbers of the era in Victorian dress. Their grand finale will include audience participation. The 46th Pennsylvania Regiment Band, also known as the Logan Guards, will perform in the muster for their third time. This 12 member band plays historical instruments of the day. The 77th New York Regimental Balladeers returns to the muster this year will return after a short absence. The band was recently presented with the Medallion of Excellence by the Rhode Island National Guard. Along with their Visitor Center program and a performance at the Dobbin House Courtyard, the group has the honor of playing at the Pennsylvania Memorial on the Gettysburg battlefield.
Two new groups will join the muster this year – the Irish Volunteers Civil War Band from Western New York and the Libby Prison Minstrels. All four members of the Irish Volunteers have long backgrounds in folk and Celtic music and have been performing Civil War music since 2007. The Libby Prison Minstrels, from Richmond, Virginia, have taken their name from the infamous prison of the Civil War. They represent a musical group that managed to purchase instruments from the “outside” and put on shows that were a respite from the hardships of prison life.
The muster begins in the afternoon of Friday, August 19th with performances indoors at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center’s Ford Education Center. The 77th NY Balladeers play at 3:00 p.m. and the Libby Prison Minstrels play at 4:45 p.m.
On Saturday, performances begin at 10:40 a.m. on the plaza in front of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. Extended performances will begin at 12:45 p.m., on the plaza in front of the Museum and Visitor Center. Performances take place from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Dobbin House Restaurant Courtyard on Steinwehr Avenue. The music muster concludes with a special performance at the Pennsylvania Memorial on the Gettysburg battlefield from 6:00 p.m. until sundown.
The public is invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets to spread on the grass. All outdoor musical performances may be cancelled due to inclement weather. For more information or a full schedule of performances call (717) 334-1124 ext. 3251 or ext. 8023.
DETAILED SCHEDULE AND BACKGROUND ON THE MUSICIANS
Saturday’s performances begin at 10:00 a.m. with the Susquehanna Travellers on the plaza in front of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. The Susquehanna Travellers perform the music of 19th Century America focusing on Civil War era and Irish music. The musicians are Civil War re-enactors and members of the 87th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The band got its start playing traditional tunes around the campfire at civil war re-enactments. The Travellers will play an extended solo concert on the main stage in front of Museum and Visitor Center at 12:45 p.m. and perform with the Victorian Dance Ensemble at the Dobbin House Courtyard at 11:00 a.m. and again indoors at the Museum and Visitor Center at 3:30 p.m.
The Victorian Dance Ensemble is the performing troupe of the Civil War Dance Foundation. This year marks its twelfth appearance at Music Muster. Founded in 1995, the Ensemble has presented dance demonstrations for the Smithsonian Institution, Gettysburg National Military Park and other national park sites, Civil War Preservation Trust events, for the Pennsylvania Civil War Trails Project, at Gettysburg Foundation events, and elsewhere. In 2009, they performed at an Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C., and danced in the oratorio “For the People” in celebration of the Lincoln Bicentennial.
The Libby Prison Minstrels will begin at 10:20 a.m., on the plaza in front of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. The Libby Prison Minstrels portray the original orchestra composed of imprisoned officers at Libby Prison in Richmond, VA. The Infamous prison of the Civil War saw as many as 1300 Union Soldiers, mostly officers, in its six dark and dank rooms. Despite the horrors of the prison’s conditions, this musical group managed to purchase instruments from the outside and put on shows that were a wonderful respite from the hardships of prison life. The Minstrels will again play an extended Museum and Visitor Center Concert at 11:50 a.m. and again on the Dobbin House Courtyard at 12:20 p.m.
The 77th NY Regimental Balladeers play at 10:40 a.m. on the plaza in front of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. The balladeers are celebrating their 15th year preserving the songs, history, and spirit of the 1860s. The band was recently presented with the Medallion of Excellence by the Rhode Island National Guard. The group has the honor of playing a sunset program at the Pennsylvania Memorial which will evoke the memory of those who struggled on Gettysburg’s hallowed ground. The performance will include ”Nearer My God to Thee” and “Come Dearest the Daylight Is Gone.” The 77th Balladeers performance also include an extended formal concert at 2:35 p.m. at the main stage in front of the Museum and Visitor Center, at 1:00 p.m. on the Dobbin House Courtyard and the sunset concert at 6:45 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Memorial.
At 11:00 a.m., the Irish Volunteer Civil War Band performs on the plaza in front of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. The Irish Volunteers are a Western NY-based four piece group with long backgrounds in Celtic and folk music. They arrived on the Civil War and period scene in 2007. Since then they have delighted audiences at reenactments that include Amherst, Marilla, Granger Homestead in Canandaigua, Peterboro, Mumford, Erie Canal Village Civil War Days in Rome, NY, and the Civil War Music Heritage Weekend in Windham, NY. This is their debut at the Music Muster. The Irish Volunteers will also play at 11:50 a.m. on the main stage in front of the Museum and Visitor Center and at 1:40 p.m. at the Dobbin House Courtyard.
At 1:40 p.m., the 46th Pennsylvania Regimental Band will perform on the main stage in front of the Museum and Visitor Center. Also referred to as the Logan Guards, they were a militia unit organized in 1858 in Lewistown, Pa. They gained fame in April 1861, when President Lincoln issued an urgent appeal for troops to protect Washington in response to the firing by rebels on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. After the president’s call, the Logan Guards and four other companies of Pennsylvania militia were the first troops to arrive in the nation’s capital. They marched out of Lewistown listening to William Hopper, a lone fifer, play “The Girl I Left behind Me”. This will be their third visit to the Gettysburg Music Muster. They will also perform at the courtyard of the Dobbin House at 11:40 a.m. and at the Pennsylvania Memorial at 6:00 p.m.
Gettysburg National Military Park
phone: 717/ 334-1124 x3121