Gettysburg to host Civil War music fest

The 10-day celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg finished in early July, but Civil War music and the dancing are still going on.

The Gettysburg Music Muster is set for Aug. 16-17 at three locations -- the park's museum and visitors center on Baltimore Pike, the 230-year-old Dobbin House restaurant on Steinwehr Avenue and the Pennsylvania Memorial on the battlefield.

All performances are free and will feature several groups of musicians and dancers -- 88 performers in all -- in authentic Civil War dress, as they would have looked during the bloody North-South conflict of July 1-3, 1863.

One group that will play is the Susquehanna Travellers, who will perform solo, playing songs that were popular in 19th-century America, as well as together with the Victorian Dance Ensemble. The Travellers are Civil War re-enactors from the 87th Pennsylvania Infantry, who got started by playing Civil War tunes during the Civil War re-enactments that are held each year in Gettysburg.

The Dance Ensemble was founded in 1995 and has performed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, at the Civil War Preservation Trust and at various national parks.

Also performing will be the Irish Volunteers Civil War Band, with musicians from western New York, who have backgrounds in Celtic tunes as well as Civil War music.

David Kincaid, a musician and historian, will perform songs and outline the history of Irish soldiers during the American Civil War. He was a consultant and performer in a movie about the Civil War called "Gods and Generals.''

Another group that will perform is the Libby Prison Minstrels of Richmond, Va., which takes its name from an infamous prison during the Civil War, where inmates were somehow able to get instruments from outside the prison and put on shows that gave some relief from difficult incarcerated life.

Most of the groups have been at the music muster before, but making its first appearance is the Connecticut Valley Music Fife and Drum Band, from Middletown, Conn. According to a park service statement, this group is "deeply committed to preserving and performing the Connecticut fife and drum heritage."

Specific times and locations for all the musical events are available at 1-717-334-1124, ext. 3251. The events are sponsored by the National Park Service (, which preserves the battlefield and offers battlefield tours, and the Gettysburg Foundation (, a private group that runs the park's visitors center and museum and raises money for battlefield restoration.

travel - music - civilwar - gettysburgstories

Tom Barnes: or 1-717-623-1238. First Published August 4, 2013 4:00 AM


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