Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

 I just wondering what yall do.  I belong to the Cane Island Vols. who fought in the Texas Ind. 1836.

Most of the guys are really  into black powder guns, etc.  I dont even have a blackpowder weapon. When I joined them , they said all they wanted me to do is play around camp for atmosphere. Which suits me fine.

Mostly harp & spoons. {Now real banjo, when I learn}  When you go to events to you go as a soldier or civilian?  Im not really interested in getting into the marching etc.  Just want to hang and play music.

 What do you do?


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I don't re-enact at all. I thought I was going to when I first started. Now I just wear the clothes because they are so comfortable. I did, however,  end up becoming more obsessed with the music than I thought I was going to be. 

I got pulled into the outer orbit of reenacting through a series of happy coincidences; I'd been exploring stroke style for a couple of months when I was introduced to bones player extraoirdinaire Steve Brown (I'm not sure what the odds of  two musicians playing mid-19th century instruments in a small town in New England are, but they must be pretty long.)  We were jamming at the local farmer's market when someone overheard us and said "Hey, you guys should totally perform at the Civil War reenactment that's coming up next month!"  She put us in touch with the organizer, who listened to us play a few tunes and hired us to play a gig for the reenactors!


I pulled together a passable civilian outfit and spent the day wandering about the camp, totally unprepared with a backstory as to who I was supposed to be (I still need to work on that.)  It was a lot of fun, and it was while at that event that I met the Commander of a nearby camp of the Sons of Union Veterans, which I joined along with a friend.  SUVCW aren't reenactors, exactly, although a lot of the members do have uniforms as I saw at an event that was held at the Charlestown MA Navy Yard last week.


So, I've only been to one re-enactment so far, and am looking forward to checking out another one or two this year... I'm still feeling my way around attitudes and etiquette.  I should probably seek out a company with a civilian unit to help me learn the ropes.  I'd like to give the soldiering thing a try someday, although I'm a bit ambivalent about how serious some people can be about their pretend armies; I know there's real historic significance at work, but for me a weekend in the field had better be more fun than not.  More than anything, though, I really should focus on my technique and repertoire.

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