Music at 25th annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend

Marilyn and Wayne Fuller of Jordan perform as Merlyn and Harry in the Merry Mischief duo at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 11, at the 25th annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend.

Music was important during the Civil War and it will be so for the 25th annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend June 10 and 11, 2017. The 77th New York Regimental Balladeers will return for the eighth time to Peterboro to perform an evening concert in honor of the 25th annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend.

The concert Patriots All: America’s Songbook 1861-1865 will be performed at the Smithfield Community Center Saturday, June 10, at 7 pm. The Balladeers will also present earlier in the day at 3 p.m. on the encampment field with Campfire Songs and Melodies, including a variety of fiddle medleys.

The Windham-based band is celebrating its twentieth year and more than 460 concert performances. The band is dedicated to preserving the songs, tunes, history and spirit of the Antebellum and Civil War period.

The 1860s left a heritage of songs and melodies that reflects one of the most turbulent times in American history in the most vivid way. These were the “Heart Songs’’ of America.

The band uses the original music arrangements and lyrics to convey, emote and capture how our ancestors talked, their rhythms, accents, beliefs, their spirituality, motives and patriotism.

The 77th NY Regimental Balladeers have been recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Gettysburg National Military Park for their outstanding and authentic portrayal of the music of the period.

The original 77th NY Regimental band was comprised of military personnel from Fulton, Essex and Saratoga Counties who fought in the Civil War. The group banded together in 1872 as part of the Survivors Association of the 77th Regiment of 1861-65. These heralded musicians kept alive the memories and spirit of comradeship they had experienced together during the war. A military note was dominant in many social events of the period and the musical troupe was foremost in every event given for the interest and betterment of the community.

The 77th NY Regimental band flourished into the early 1900s, when thinning ranks as members answered the final taps, caused it to dissolve. For more than 25 years, 77th Regimental band was a musical organization well thought of in the Capital District and North Country region. The balladeers are honored to evoke the memory of the ‘Old’ 77th Regimental band and are proud to keep their spirited musical tradition alive – which the band has been doing for two decades.

John C. Quinn, the leader of the Balladeers, served as the Co-chair of the Greene County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee for the period 2011-2015. He graduated from the SUNY at New Paltz with a B.S. degree in History, Asian Studies and Philosophy. He has completed Masters Degrees in Educational Administration, Health Education and Human Resource Management. He is a student of Civil War history, a musician and collector of militaria including an extensive collection of 1860s sheet music and soldiers’ correspondence.

John is Chairman of the Community of Windham Foundation and the treasurer of the Zadock Pratt Museum. He has served as the co-curator of the ‘One Nation’ Civil War Sesquicentennial exhibit at the NSDAR Hendrick Hudson Chapter, Robert Jenkins House and is the current curator of the Zadock Pratt Museum’s “Hardtack & Home Front Recollections: Greene County During the Civil War” exhibit. He resides in Windham with his wife Sharon and their golden retriever ‘Lincoln’.

At 1 p.m. Sunday, June 11, the Merry Mischief duo of Marilyn and Wayne Fuller of Jordan will perform Civil War music within the encampment. For twenty years the pair has been providing a variety of musical themes with costumes and fun to accompany. Performing as Merilyn and Harry, with her alto voice in contrast to Harry’s tenor vocals, the artists present a unique harmonious style. Songs are driven by Merlyn’s 12 string guitar or bodhran drum and complimented by Harry’s finger picking style six-string guitar playing.

Throughout the encampment and throughout the evening soldiers and their families will be heard singing and playing instruments. Visitors sometimes bring their instruments and play for their own enjoyment – as well as for the enjoyment of others. The weekend event ends on a musical note, as Taps will be played at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 11. Cheryl Pula will precede the playing of Taps with an explanation of the origins – which relate to Peterboro history.

Admission to the 7 p.m. Saturday Patriots All concert is $5, and free to registered reenactors, Saturday volunteers, and children under six years of age. Admission to the 25th annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend includes the afternoon band concerts, military and civilian encampments, three museums, exhibits, programs, walking tours, demonstrators, vendors, and sutlers.

Adult admission is $10, ages 6-12 is $5, and under six is free. This music is made possible, in part, with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by CNY Arts. Advanced $5 tickets are available through May. For information visit www.PeterboroNY.org or call 315-280-8828.

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