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Sesquicentennial Gettysburg Music Muster

National Park News

Performances by the most respected and authentic Civil War musicians will fill the air on August 16 and 17 at Gettysburg National Military Park, during the 18th Annual Gettysburg Music Muster.  This one-of-a-kind performance, much of it played on original instruments, includes songs of balladeers, Victorian dance music and dance performances, along with fifes, banjo, mandolin, and more. 

This free event is sponsored by Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation.  Performance locations include the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center 1195 Baltimore Pike; the Dobbin House Restaurant, 89 Steinwehr Avenue, Gettysburg; and the Pennsylvania Memorial, Auto Tour Stop #12 on the Gettysburg battlefield.

This year’s Gettysburg Music Muster commemorates the 150th anniversary of the battle and includes eighty-eight performers.  The Susquehanna Travellers will perform with the Victorian Dance Ensemble as well as solo. In a twist on the Civil War music theme, the Victorian Dance Ensemble will call and perform several dance numbers of the era in Victorian dress, with audience participation.  The 46th Pennsylvania Regiment Band, also known as the Logan Guards, will come for their fifth appearance.  This 12-member band will perform on historical instruments of the day.  David Kincaid, the Irish Volunteer, will return after a short absence, playing at the Dobbin House Courtyard and on the Gettysburg battlefield

The Irish Volunteers Civil War Band from Western New York will return for their third performance year. Though all four members have long backgrounds in folk and Celtic music, they have been performing Civil War music since 2007.  The Libby Prison Minstrels are also returning for their third visit, arriving from Richmond, Virginia.  Their name is taken from the infamous prison of the Civil War and they represent a musical group that managed to purchase instruments from the ‘outside’ and put on shows that were a respite from the hardships of prison life. The 77th New York Regimental Balladeers will return after a short absence.  The band was recently presented with the Medallion of Excellence by the Rhode Island National Guard.

The Connecticut Valley Music Fife and Drum Band will make their first appearance at this year’s muster.  Hailing from Middletown, Connecticut, they are deeply committed to the preservation and performance of the Connecticut fife and drum heritage. Their goal is to pass on their musical tradition to another generation as one of the best aspects of the American way of life.

August 16 performances begin at 2:30 p.m. in the Ford Education Center of the Museum and Visitor Center with David Kincaid.  At 3:30 p.m. the Libby Prison Minstrels play and at 4:30 p.m. the Irish Volunteers perform.  From 5:15 p.m. until 6 p.m., the music moves to the front lawn of the park Museum and Visitor Center with the Connecticut Valley Music Fife and Drum Band.  

August 17 performances begin at 9:30 a.m. on the back lawn of the park Museum and Visitor Center under a tent and continue here and several other locations throughout the day.  The Grand Finale performance begins at 5 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Memorial on the battlefield and continues until sundown. 

The public is invited to attend all of the performances free of charge.  Outdoor performance sites can be very warm and sunny, so bring umbrellas as well as lawn chairs or blankets for seating.  For more information call (717) 334-1124 ext. 3251 or ext. 8023.


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