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Sharpsburg History Days agenda

September 18, 2004

The Sharpsburg Historical Society and the Forest Glen Commonwealth invite the public to attend Sharpsburg History Days, Sept. 17-18, for lectures, exhibits, walking tours, an American folk music concert, and community spaghetti dinner. Most events are free. The schedule follows:

Friday, Sept. 17

7:30 p.m. lecture - "Spiritual Ministries of the Civil War, with a hymn-sing" - by Rev. David C. Baker, Ph.D. BCC, director of pastoral care, Western Maryland Hospital Center. The Civil War saw the Army chaplaincy develop in primitive form many of the procedures still in place today.

While in earlier periods the military clergy were preachers, pastors and combatants, the 1861-1865 period saw less emphasis on the "fighting parson" and more on a spiritual ministry. Also, the Civil War for the first time witnessed a large number of Roman Catholic chaplains in the field, the advent of the first Jewish chaplains and the first black and Indian chaplains. Location: Christ Reformed UCC, Main Street, Sharpsburg.

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Saturday, Sept. 18

9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. - Sign-up for walking tours, tickets for dinner and concert. Brochures, flags and books will be for sale. Information tables at will be set up at Town Square. Sharpsburg Town History Exhibit, Period Civil War Art Exhibit - Town Hall.

Forest Glen Commonwealth Tent open - Town Square. Forest Glen Commonwealth is a nonprofit historic preservation, education and interpretation organization.

Ham sandwiches and soft drinks will be for sale - Christ Reformed UCC, Main Street.

Slim Harrison and the Sunnyland Band on the Square - With more than 12,000 members in more than 20 nations worldwide, the Sunnyland Skiffle Band is probably the largest, if not the loudest, band you ever heard.

Made up of kids of all ages and from all walks of life, the Sunnyland Band has performed from Kalamazoo to Kathmandu. The "musicians" play on washboards and whammydiddles, jug and washtub bass, limberjacks and stumpf fiddles, skiffleboards and spoons. Slim and Brenda Harrison are the founders of Sunnyland Music and Multicultural Arts in nearby Emmitsburg, Md.

10 a.m. - Tolson's Chapel Lecture and Tour with Edie Wallace. Lecture Room at Town Hall. Donation $5 to Tolson's Chapel.

Tolson's Chapel, circa 1867, was built by the African American population of Sharpsburg and used as a Freedman's School. It was recently donated to Save the Historic Antietam Foundation by the United Methodist Church and is being restored.

10 a.m. and 1 p.m. - Historic Homes, Churches and Gardens Walking Tour. Tickets $5. Leave from Square.

11:30 a.m. - Coins, Currency and Ransoms of the Civil War - Lecture by Rick Lank of the Forest Glen Commonwealth. Christ Reformed UCC. Admission is free.

1 p.m. - Vernacular Architecture of Mid-Maryland - Lecture by Paula Reed. Lecture Room at Town Hall. Free.

2 p.m. - Roads to Recovery: Rails, Trails and the C&O Canal - Lecture by Rick Lank of the Forest Glen Commonwealth at Christ Reformed UCC.

3 p.m. - The Truth Behind Antietam's Hospital Sites - A Walking Tour and Lecture by John Nelson. Donation $10, Starts at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Main Street. Nelson's new CD-ROM "As Grain Falls Before the Reaper," that identifies federal hospital sites and federal casualties, will be available for purchase.

5 p.m. - Spaghetti dinner at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Main Street. Tickets - $6.

7 p.m. - "Exploring the Roots of American Folk Music" - Slim Harrison and the Sunnyland Band Concert. Traditional American folk instruments, including fiddle, banjo, dulcimer, guitar, etc., are introduced to the audience, with the multicultural history of each explained.

As each instrument is introduced and played, the audience is invited to sing along and six to eight children play some simple rhythm instruments. A folktale is often used to introduce country dancing, then a jug band is chosen from audience members and everyone is invited to join in an Afro'lachian ASoodeo or AHoedown" dance. Location: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Main Street. Tickets - $5 adults; $2.50 - children 12 and under.

Tickets to any event may be purchased in advance by contacting 301-432-8410 or 301-432-7984.

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