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Regional Archives The Altamont Enterprise, February 16, 2012

After Tropical Storm Irene
Tunes from the Civil War
will raise funds to help those now battling to rebuild in Central Bridge

A third Civil War concert will be held to benefit survivors of Tropical Storm Irene.

“People have no money and are walking away from their homes,” said Paula Shafer, a retired Helderberg teacher who is organizing the events.

This concert will be held March 10 at 4 p.m. at the Bethlehem Community Church in Delmar. Shafer said the location, away from the flood-ravaged Schoharie Valley, would cast a wider net for donations.

The first concert was held on Nov. 5, two months after the storm hit, at the 1872 Historic Gallupville House. A second concert was held on Nov. 19.

Some of the same groups, whose members perform on historic instruments while wearing period dress, will reprise their popular performances for the third concert.

The 77th New York Regimental Balladeers, based in Windham, have played at Gettysburg. Led by John Quinn, a retired history teacher, the group brought down the house at the first concert with their Civil War songs played on banjo, harmonica, guitar, penny whistle, and fiddle. At the March 10 concert, they will focus on Irish songs.

The Iron Jacks will play and sing Civil-War era music associated with the United States Naval Landing Party — the group portrays the activities of a landing party of Union sailors and marines during the Civil War.

Leader David Dziewulski, from Troy, says the Iron Jacks play a “rough-and-tumble form of music about the sea, women, grog, misfortune, and going home.”

Rural Felicity, led by William Frueh of Delmar, will play fife and drum music to accompany President Abraham Lincoln reenactor Peter Lindeman. Other reenactors will portray General Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia. Concert-goers will be invited to dance along with the reenactors.

Uncle Billy’s Balladeers, based in Schoharie and led by Rich Sherman, will close the show with a variety of Civil War songs and an audience sing-along.

“One-hundred-and-fifty years ago, we fought to preserve our Union; now we fight to preserve our community,” said Sherman.


The Bethlehem Community Church is located at 201 Elm Ave. in Delmar. All proceeds will go to the not-for-profit Fields of Grace (online at FieldsofGraceoutreach.org) created by Rev. Dr. Peter DeBartolo of Middleburgh to provide building materials to flood survivors. The March 10 event is to benefit Central Bridge.

The suggested tax-deductible donation is $15, or $25 for a couple. Tickets will be sold at the door or may be purchased in advance by writing a check payable to “Fields of Grace Outreach”; memo: “Central Bridge Disaster Relief Fund.” Include an index card with your name and the total number in your party along with contact information, and send to: Civil War Concert Reservations, care of Fields of Grace Outreach, Post Office Box 48, Middleburgh, NY 12122.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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