Visitors to Beverly, on Saturday, July 13, will have an opportunity to hear a variety of authentic mid-19th-century music in live performances as the town observes Beverly in the Civil War. The Blue and Gray Choir from Philippi will headline the day's music with an evening concert.
Music through the day will complement an appearance of famed 19th-century illustrator Porte Crayon as interpreted by Don Teter at 3:30 p.m. in the 1808 Randolph County Courthouse in the Beverly Heritage Center. The event will also include period craft demonstrations starting at 10 a.m. and Civil War children's activities at 11 a.m.
The historic Beverly Presbyterian Church will be the site of the 7 p.m. concert by the Blue and Gray Choir. The choir was founded in 1989 to complement the annual Blue and Gray Reunion in Philippi, site of the first land battle of the Civil War. It recently accepted an invitation to perform in the courtroom of West Virginia's Independence Hall in Wheeling as part of the 150th anniversary observance of West Virginia statehood.
"The Blue and Gray Choir has achieved an excellent reputation for its choral performances of authentic Civil War era music," said choir member Richard Evans. "We were received with great enthusiasm in Wheeling by an appreciative audience in the packed courtroom. We are delighted to have the opportunity to share this special program in Beverly."
The choir of 45 volunteer singers under, the direction of Dr. Judson Bracey, and accompanied by Michele Moore will perform a variety of sacred, patriotic and folk songs from the mid-19th century. Songs associated with the Civil War, such as "The Battle Cry of Freedom," "The Bonnie Blue Flag," "Marching Through Georgia" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" are featured on the program along with such American folks songs as "Shenandoah," "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair," "What Wondrous Love Is This" and "Every Time I Feel the Spirit" that express the religious fervor of the period will also be heard along with songs that salute our state and nation.
The afternoon musical highlights at the Beverly Heritage Center start at 1 p.m. with a trio consisting of Linda Wolfersheim and Richard Evans on flute and Catherine Sercer on viola; the trio will play several 18th-century trio sonatas by such composers as Vivaldi, Telemann, Quantz and Handel. At 2 p.m., there will be a performance by Mountain Winds woodwind trio, who will be playing a variety of seldom heard 19th-century dances.
"Working from several privately bound volumes of 19th-century piano sheet music, Mountain Winds has arranged a delightful assortment of polkas, schottishes, waltzes, galops and marches for wind trio that will charm the listener," Evans said. "Besides the dances, there will be rousing war songs, religious hymns and sentimental ballads in instrumental guise."
At 3:30 p.m., Don Teter will portray 19th-century illustrator David Hunter Strother, known as Porte Crayon, in a History Alive! presentation. Strother's travels in Randolph County will be featured in the presentation, along with an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.
Following this program, music will resume with Les Caraher and Peter Baxter of the Rich Mountain String Band playing 19th-century minstrel music.
At 5:30 p.m., activities move to the Beverly Presbyterian Church with a pork tenderloin dinner prepared by the church women. Advance reservation cost for the dinner is $12 or $14 at the door. The choir concert follows the dinner at 7 p.m.
The Beverly in the Civil War event is funded in part by the West Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, the West Virginia Humanities Council and the Randolph County Convention and Visitors Bureau. All activities are open to the public and free except for the ticketed dinner. Reservations for dinner and for the children's activities are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling the Beverly Heritage Center at 304-637-7424 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about this and other Beverly Heritage Center events, go to www.beverlyheritagecenter.org.