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Civil War Music Program Sept. 19, 2015

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by donna, Sep 21, 2015.

  1. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    At my Ohio Division Convention this weekend we had a program on "The Music of the Civil War" by Steve Ball. Mr. Ball specializes in the music of the Civil War and the music of Stephen Foster. He has devoted the past 20 years to studying this music.

    The presentation featured tunes starting in the mid 1850's that would become important regarding the climate of the country before the war began in 1861 and would continue thru 1865. He had patriotic tunes from the Union and Confederate standpoint, songs cherished by both sides, a sing along. and finally tunes that reflected the loss and melancholy the war would produce. The history and influence of each song was shared, as well as the progress of the war itself.

    Mr. Ball plays the guitar and sings each song and is accompanied by his wife, Lisa who plays the base and sings with him on some songs.

    My favorites that he sung were "Dixie", "Battle Hymn of the Republic", "Goober Peas", "Tenting On The Old Camp Ground Tonight", "Lorena". "The Yellow Rose of Texas", and of course, "My Old Kentucky Home".

    Steve played all the songs on his original 1845 Martin Guitar. It was a beautiful instrument. He has the guitar and case. He also displayed original sheet music from the times.

    It was a most enjoyable evening. We liked his program so much that my husband and I bought two of his CDs, "Songs of the Soldiers of the American Civil War" and "Faded Coat of Blue".

    Hope this posted in correct forum.
     
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  3. nitrofd

    nitrofd Colonel

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    He didn't play "way down upon the swanee. River".
     
  4. chellers

    chellers Brigadier General Moderator Trivia Game Winner

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    Sounds like a delightful evening, Donna. Thank you for sharing.
     
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  5. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    No he didn't play Way Down on the Suwanee River. He does do a program just on Stephen Foster music. I bet it is good.
     
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  6. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    Your lovely program sounds like the kind of thing which was just too short- can't you always listen to this forever and ever? My uncle, Dad's brother does this only not specifically Civil War- he plays the saw beside guitar, mandolin and ' fiddle'- no lessons either. NOW he takes lessons, too funny.

    We are so lucky we have these people keeping this alive for all of us.

    1845 Guitar- the photo claims ' Martin '; I honestly cannot tell
    donna guitar1.JPG

    Saved some old sheet music, Civil War era

    ds1.JPG ds2.JPG ds3.JPG ds4.JPG ds6.JPG ds7.JPG ds8.JPG ds9.JPG


    And Lyrics to one wonderful old song-

    donna sheet4.JPG donna sheet5.JPG
     
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  7. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Annie thanks for photos. The guitar sure looks like one Mr. Ball played. I love the old sheet music.
     
  8. jackt62

    jackt62 Sergeant Major

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    I'm wondering if there is some recording of "The Music of the Civil War" program (YouTube perhaps?). It would be great to listen to.
     
  9. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    He has 2 CDs which we purchased. I know we didn't tape anything at the Program on Friday night. He has done this program many times so don't know if could be on you tube.
     
  10. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Saw Mark's post about Steve Ball playing for group he went to. He played for the Ohio Division of UDC in 2015. This is my thread on this program.
     
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  11. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Lt. Colonel Member of the Year Member of the Month

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    I definitely enjoyed his presentation/performance at the Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable last night. It's so interesting to hear the stories behind the music, as well as the music itself!

    Some other tidbits:

    The woman "Lorena" was written for was actually named Martha. The original writer (barely) disguised the name as "Bertha," but when composer Joseph P. Webster set the original poem to music, he decided "Bertha" wasn't lyrical-sounding enough and changed it. (Martha evidently knew the song was written about her, and hated it.)

    George Root kept popping up throughout the talk. As well as being a songwriter, he seems to have had a hand in the promotion of a number of other peoples' songs.

    Apparently "Just Before The Battle, Mother" became popular in the British and Australian armies too, although how that came to be isn't quite certain.

    And--- the "John Brown" of "John Brown's Body" wasn't originally a reference to the radical abolitionist! Supposedly, there was a sad-sack type named John Brown in a Massachusetts regiment who wasn't very good at soldiering, and the verses were about how ragged his knapsack was, etc., set to the familiar tune of an existing camp-meeting song. But it made a good marching song, and when the Massachusetts troops sang it in Washington, bystanders made the incorrect-but-natural assumption that they were singing about the Harper's Ferry raider, and further verses were written to conform with that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
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