Just finished three "Best Civil War Story" shows at Shepherdstown's Blackbox Arts Center this past Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 26,27,28. Jim Surkamp used letters and diaries written in Jefferson County during the Civil War by members of several prominent families here. The letters and diaries were so well written and the stories they told so eye-opening, sometimes grim, sometimes heart-breaking, sometimes humorous. I pulled together lots and lots of music from the period - fiddle-tunes, hymns, popular songs, some classical pieces, three songs I wrote to poems of Danske Dandridge (a Bedinger family child of ten at the time of these stories). She was already writing good poetry. They were all good writers, so it was a joy to help form this production.
Left to right in the photo, Readers Homer Speaker, Ardyth Gilbertson and Jim Surkamp. I played the piano and sang. It was good to work in the Blackbox theatre, a small, intimate space, seating just under 100, but well set up. I was able to use their Baldwin piano, so I was happy.
All three shows were videotaped, so I'll be putting up some of the music as soon as it's available to me. Jim will be putting the videos on his youtube page.