Sun, Jul 31|
Music in the Midst of Madness
Readings and Music from Civil War Letters and Memoirs
Time & Location
Jul 31, 2022, 3:00 PM
Esperance, 2025 Burtonville Rd, Esperance, NY 12066, USA
About the Event
Supported by an 2022 Individual Artist Grant from Saratoga Arts, "Music in the Midst of Madness: Respite from the Turmoil of the Civil War" is a performance of readings and music chronicled in letters and memoirs during the American Civil War. Exerpts from the letters written by soldiers and their families will be musically illustrated by historian and musician Ronald Burch. Audience participation will be encouraged!
Admission is free. Donations are appreciated.
Wanda Burch, historian and author, Glen, NY, has received a 2022 individual artist grant from Saratoga Arts, for “Music in the Midst of Madness: Respite from the Turmoil of the Civil War,” a performance of readings and music chronicled in letters and memoirs during the American Civil War. Wanda Burch will present excerpts from letters written by soldiers and their families, accompanied by historian/musician Ronald Burch and vocalist, Gisella Montanez Case. The performances will be showcased in Montgomery County at four venues.
Providing fresh perspective on the human side of the Civil War, this presentation explores music of all kinds played by soldiers and their families during the years of the Civil War. Letters to home and letters from home were the Civil War soldiers and their family’s “soul on paper.” Music offered a place where hearts and souls could mend and find humanity, even when the hardships of war forced their way into the most protected and private places that struggle to keep body and spirit together and whole. Music was played on a variety of instruments, was part of camp life and home life and helped pass lonely and longing nights. Everyone sang; many had instruments and played. Almost every soldier’s letter to home; almost every letter from home described a musical instrument, a song, or the effect of music on the battlefield or in the parlor. Dreams of home inspired hundreds of poems and songs. Titles of music drifted into ordinary language in letters and memoirs. Examples of such language included mentions of the “soldier’s dream of home,” of someone dying and going to their “long home” or perhaps a camp reference near the Potomac to all being “quiet on the Potomac tonight,” all references to songs. Sentimental language and stories inspired songs.
Wanda Burch, author of The Home Voices Speak Louder than the Drums: Dreams and the Imagination in Civil War Letters and Memoirs, will be reading descriptions of music recorded in soldiers’ letters and family letters from both sides of the American Civil War. Ron Burch will play both parlor and camp music referenced in those letters, accompanied by vocalist Gisella Montanez Case. Song sheets will be available for audience participation.
“Music in the Midst of Madness: Respite from the Turmoil of the Civil War” is scheduled for six venues in Montgomery County:
Wednesday, July 20, 6:30 p.m. – Old Fort Johnson, NY5, Ft. Johnson, NY Sunday, July 31, 3:00 p.m. – Schoharie River Center, 2031 Burtonsville Rd., Burtonsville NY
Saturday, October 1, 7:30 p.m. – Conservancy Hall, 1538 State Highway 161, Glen NY
Saturday, October 15, 10:00 a.m. – Margaret Reaney Memorial Library, St. Johnsville, NY