BLOG, or DIE. Author Bio
Saturday, 28 March 2009
Voices from the Storm

This evening I had the pleasure of attending a very special program at the historic Massaponax Baptist Church. As I had announced below on 3/24, the National Park Service hosted two showings of their fourth “Voices from the Storm” presentation. These unique programs use historic venues, the words of the people who lived and fought here, music, and images to tell the story of a community caught in the maelstrom of the Civil War. Each one lasts approx. 60+ minutes and is tailored especially for the location.

Tonight’s presentation shared the firsthand experiences of Spotsylvanians amidst war in their own words. According to the handout, no place suffered longer or more variously from war than Spotsylvania County. NPS Chief of Interpretation John Hennessy narrated the program which featured Debbie Aylor, Randy Dail, Scott Howson, and Torie Aylaor as readers. Period musicians and singers from Evergreen Shade provided the musical interludes and a 40+ photographic slide show ran on the backdrop.

I had the privilege of sitting in the front with National Civil War Life Foundation Chairman Horace McCaskill and Museum Director Terry Thomann. This gave us an up close view of the performers who did a magnificent job in conveying the emotions of the individuals they were quoting. The photographs selected from the NPS collection added a great deal to the piece and the live music was extremely touching at times. Evergreen Shade’s version of “I’m Going Home” was very emotional and sitting in the hallowed sanctuary of Massaponax Baptist Church added to the experience.

John’s narrative painted a vivid portrait of the county’s perspectives from all sides and I was surprised by some of the numbers he included such as the majority of Spotsylvanian’s in the 1860's being African-American, the high percentages of financial losses incurred by whites, and the staggering amount of civilians requiring government assistance after the war. Clearly the program showed that suffering occurred on all sides, both on and off the battlefield. As I am just beginning to gather primary sources for my upcoming book on Confederate encampments in Spotsylvania County, I recognized some good material on camps that I am hoping to include.

If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of these “Voices from the Storm” programs, do it. You will get the REAL story, from those that experienced it, through their own words, images, and music.

Posted by ny5/pinstripepress at 11:02 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 28 March 2009 11:04 PM EDT
Permalink | Share This Post

Newer | Latest | Older