2011-02-25 / Arts & Entertainment

Sandlappers to perform at State Museum and Dreher High School

Contributed by Sandlapper Singers

It has been part of the human condition that throughout time we have expressed our deepest emotions through song. The Sandlapper Singers, Columbia’s premier professional choral ensemble specializing in American music, will examine the phenomenon this spring in two programs open to the public. Both events will draw on manuscript, literary, visual, and musical historical sources, and recent scholarship that shed light on the experiences of ordinary Americans during the Civil War.

The first event, held in conjunction with the South Carolina State Museum and the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Museum, will be an hour–long meeting in the auditorium of the South Carolina State Museum on Sunday, March 27, at 2: 30 p. m. Distinguished scholars will discuss the impact of the war on diverse South Carolinians, including soldiers, non– combatants, their families, and enslaved African–Americans.

Allen Roberson, director of the S.C. Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, will welcome attendees. Historian Constance Schulz, the Project Humanities director, will share photographic images of South Carolina during the war years. Historian and University of South Carolina professor Lacy Ford will describe the “plain people” of Carolina, the ordinary white folk whose political support for the slave–holding minority enabled South Carolina to lead the nation into secession and war, and who were the rank and file of Confederate armies and the non–slave work force of men and women at home who experienced loss and disruption.

Historian Bobby Donaldson will discuss the poignant experiences of African–Americans, some free but most enslaved, for whom the war had multiple meanings: disruption of the distinct plantation and urban lives they had created in the face of enslavement and exploitation, an opportunity for escape, and the promise of a future of freedom. Musicians will perform samples of the songs that will be featured later that week in a concert.

The second event will be the Sandlapper Singers’ third season concert: “Melodies from the Civil War: Hard Times.” The concert will be held in the Dreher High School Auditorium Friday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. Featured performers include the Benedict College Choir directed by Dr. Linda Kershaw, and guitarist Marina Alexandra. The performers will dress in period costume, and the backdrop will be a projection of historical images.

One important musical feature of the concert is a new setting for chorus and guitar by contemporary composer Jeffrey Van of four Civil War poems by America’s greatest 19th–century poet, Walt Whitman. The program will also incorporate brief readings from Civil War era sources, including Mary Boykin Chesnut’s Civil War Diary, and more recent scholarly work of Drew Galpin Faust and University of South Carolina Professor Lacy D. Ford.

Anyone with a ticket for the April 1 concert will receive $1 off regular admission— adults $6, seniors $4, children $2 to both museums on March 27. Tickets to the concert are $ 15 for adults and $5 for students through college age. Concert tickets may be purchased at the Sandlapper Singers’ website, www.sandlappersingers.org.

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