Sounds of the Civil War in dulcimer

March 16, 2006|by KRISTIN WILSON

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - This weekend, dulcimer musicians who teach and perform at festivals and events around the world will offer workshops to about 60 students during the Upper Potomac Spring Dulcimer Festival in Harpers Ferry.

The capstone event is a showcase concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 18, at Harpers Ferry Middle School featuring the duos Jim Taylor and Sheila Kay Adams and Sparky and Rhonda Rucker.

"The concert is going to be phenomenal this year," says Joanie Blanton, director of the festival. The dulcimer musicians "do stuff that really grabs your heart. It's very timely and works well with the setting of being in Harpers Ferry."

Civil War historians Jim Taylor and Sheila Kay Adams will perform music of the Civil War during the concert. They have researched a range of music played by enlisted soldiers.


Music played an important role in camp life during the Civil War, Blanton explains.

"People needed the music more than any other time to convey those feelings that they held inside of them," she says. "The songs would allow you to vent those feelings in a much more respectable way."

Sparky and Rhonda Rucker will perform lyric songs of the Civil War era. Their renditions include well-known songs by Stephen Foster, Henry Clay Work and George Frederick Root.

At 8 p.m. Friday, March 17, the lecture "Finding Hidden Gems: Researching Period Sources for Historic Music" will be presented, followed by jam sessions at Hilltop House Hotel in Harpers Ferry.

If you go ...

WHAT: Dulcimer concert featuring music of the Civil War

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, March 18

WHERE: Harpers Ferry Middle School, 1710 W. Washington St., Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

COST: $15 adults; $12 seniors; $10 members and $8 children and students.

DIRECTIONS: Take alternate U.S. 40 through Boonsboro. Turn right onto Md. 67. Merge onto U.S. 340 west toward Charles Town. After about four miles, turn right onto U.S. 340 alternate.

MORE: Advance tickets are available at O'Hurley's General Store in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and at the Hilltop House Hotel. For more information, go to Dulcimer jamming will follow the concert at 10:30 p.m. at Hilltop House Hotel, 400 E. Ridge St., Harpers Ferry.

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