Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Hey, let's start the buzz. Who's going and where you coming from? I'll be there, from Michigan. Can't wait.

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Sadly, no, due to a family committment.
I'll be there from over the hill (in more ways than one).

Is registration for AEBG available yet?

Yes Al, go to www.civilwarmed.org. There is a link on their site.

My fiancee Mariah and I will be there.  We're driving down from western MA.

Thanks, Wes.  Done!

Unfortunately, not this year.  We'll miss you folks!

Too bad, Dave.  I think you've been there each of the three years I've attended.

Dear Friends,

Perhaps this'll help entice your decision to come to Antietam:

FRIDAY, June 19

Pry House Field Hospital Museum (18906 Shepherdstown Pike, Keedysville, MD 21756)

  • 12:00-4:00: Registration Opens/Early Bird Mentoring

  • 4:00-6:00 p.m.: Dinner break (on your own)

  • 6:30-7:30 p.m.: Introductions, Show & Tell

  • 7:30-8:15 p.m.: PRESENTATION 1: Scott Miller, “Rattlin’ the Bones”: A lecture-demo whirlwind tour of the history of musical bones with an emphasis on the Antebellum Era. Participants will enjoy a rare opportunity to view a diverse assortment of bones (e.g. ox rib, whale bone, vintage ebony, slate) rattled to a variety of melodies and playing techniques. Hands-on mentoring will be available throughout the rest of the weekend with Scott and other experienced bones players.

  • 8:30-9:30 p.m.: PRESENTATION 2: Marek Bennett, “When Lincoln Paid: Film with Live Soundtrack by the Hardtacks”: Long thought lost forever, Francis Ford's 1913 silent film "When Lincoln Paid" was recently discovered in a Nelson, NH barn and painstakingly reconstructed and restored by film experts at Keene State College.  With an original score composed from Civil War-era music and performed on period instruments by the Civil War folk duo The Hardtacks, this screening presents a rare glimpse of how the early-20th century film industry viewed the Civil War (around its 50th anniversary), as well as a diverse sampling of mid-19th century songs to enliven the narrative.

  • 9:30PM-?: Jam, etc.


Pry House Field Hospital Museum (18906 Shepherdstown Pike, Keedysville, MD 21756)

  • 8:30 a.m.: Check-in, coffee, continental breakfast (provided for registered participants only)

  • 9:00-9:45 a.m.: PRESENTATION 3: Tim Twiss and Mike Pasquerette, “Early Banjo Mentoring Overview”: Working with AEBG mentors Joel Hooks, John Masciale, Bob Winans, and others, Tim and Mike will provide a brief introduction to the mentoring opportunities throughout the weekend. The goal is to make sure that all experienced players willing to serve as mentors are identified so new learners can maximize sharing opportunities

  • 10:30-11:15 a.m.: PRESENTATION 4: Emily Oleson & Matthew Olwell, “Clogging and Flatfooting: Contextualizing Appalachian Percussive Dance”: American percussive dance is a broad spectrum of related forms which include clogging, tap, and flatfooting. Historically, these dances, often called jig or clog dancing in a 19th Century context, exist at a complicated intersection of overlapping cultural histories. In this workshop, we will examine both historical and contemporary narratives to reach a better understanding of American Vernacular dance traditions. Individual and group mentoring will be available throughout the rest of the weekend with Emily and Matthew.

  • 12:00-1:00 p.m.: Lunch (provided for registered participants)

  • 1:30-2:15 p.m.: PRESENTATION 5: Hank Sapoznik, “What’s in a Revival?”: Throughout his long, multifaceted career, Henry Sapoznik’s work with the banjo reflects his many decades of experience with both traditional performance styles (old time clawhammer) and in reinventing and reimagining a style (klezmer tenor banjo.) For this presentation, Sapoznik will discuss the use of the banjo as a signature part of his access to revival experiences and what can be learned for the nascent antebellum banjo revival.

  • 3:00-3:45 p.m.: PRESENTATION 6: Tom Piazza, “A Free State: A ‘sneak preview’ reading from the novel exploring the links between slavery and minstrelsy”: “The year is 1855. Blackface minstrelsy is the most popular form of entertainment in a nation about to be torn apart by the battle over slavery. Henry Sims, a fugitive slave and a brilliant musician, has escaped to Philadelphia, where he earns money living by his wits and performing on the street. He is befriended by James Douglass, leader of a popular minstrel troupe struggling to compete with dozens of similar ensembles, who imagines that Henry’s skill and magnetism might restore his troupe’s sagging fortunes.” From HarperCollins Publishers.

  • 5:15 p.m.: PUBLIC CONCERT at Pry House Field Hospital and Museum

  • 6:30 p.m.: Dinner break (on your own)

  • 6:30 p.m.-?: Jam sessions, social time

SUNDAY, June 21

Pry House Field Hospital Museum (18906 Shepherdstown Pike, Keedysville, MD 21756)

  • 8:30 a.m.: Check-in, coffee, continental breakfast (provided for registered participants only)

  • 9:00-9:30 a.m.: Large group meeting about the future of AEBG, logistics for Sunday afternoon concert

  • 9:30-10:15 a.m.: PRESENTATION 7: Jared Denhard “West African (Gahu) Influence and Early American Banjo Technique”: This lively presentation/workshop will explore the similarities between the interlocking rhythmic elements of Gahu, a social dance music of the Ewe people in Senegal, Ghana and Togo, and the rhythms and musical aesthetics of early 19th century (specifically two-stroke) banjo.  

  • 10:30-11:15 a.m.: PRESENTATION 8:  Al Smitley, “Topical Music of Antebellum America”: Highlights covering an exploration of 266 songs and 60 instrumentals about “current events” that found their way into antebellum music in the form of broadsides, song sheets, sheet music, and songsters. Coupled with already-familiar melodies, short-lived headline stories were soon replaced by the next, only to be uncovered and revived today. A simple trivia contest on mid-19th century popular music could offer to the winner a complimentary copy of Smitley’s 561-page ebook, Topical Music of Antebellum America, currently in its final stages of production.

  • 11:30-12:30 p.m.: Lunch (provided for registered participants)

  • 12:30-2:00 p.m.: Concert preparation

  • 2:00 p.m.: PUBLIC CONCERT in Dunker Church

  • 3:00 p.m.: goodbyes

Maybe this should be an event listing, so folks could fill in 'attending', 'might attend', etc.

We could do that Strumelia, but the big thing is that people who are planning on attending (in the past) became confused between clicking the "attending" button on this site versus actually registering for the event here: http://www.civilwarmed.org/pry-house-field-hospital-museum/antietam...

Oh, yes that makes sense.  Thanks for explaining!

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