How about Civil War living history over hot homemade soup on a cold February day? Join in on "Soup & Civil War Songs," Saturday, Feb. 21, as the Union Volunteer Fife and Drum Corps brings "Field Music of the Civil War" into the world of 2015.
Soup's on at noon, followed by the 2 p.m. program. Both will be held at the Niagara History Center, 215 Niagara St., Lockport.
Fifer Jim Pace and drummer Brian Seibel will re-enact a historically accurate infantry fife and drum corps of two field musicians in full uniformed regalia, performing and demonstrating Civil War military music on their replica instruments. They will tell us of music's role in the military and musicians' lives.
Both Union and Confederate companies of approximately 100 men had two musicians in this role: a fifer and drummer. The re-enactors will accurately recreate the performances of Northern Union musicians charged with the martial music of the American Civil War.
"The tradition of field music goes back centuries to ancient Rome," Pace said. "It reached its high point during the Civil War. Field music controlled every military aspect from dawn to dusk - marching, camp duties, ceremonies, battlefield signals and entertainment. The fife and drum corps is the forgotten part of the war."
Pace, a retired music educator, is an active re-enactor and historian for the Town of West Seneca. He also is a member of "The Frankfurters," which performed at the Niagara County History Center's recent Oktoberfest.
Seibel, a free-lance percussionist, has spent decades re-enacting and researching Civil War music.
The Union Volunteer Fife and Drum Corps is affiliated with the 155th NY Volunteer Infantry.
The corps' program will include a PowerPoint presentation rich in historical photos and information. Lunch will offer several varieties of hot soup, bread, desserts and beverages, all for a requested donation of $5. Attendance is limited to the first 60 people, so make your reservations now by calling the History Center at 716-434-7433.
As the 150th anniversary of the Civil War concludes in 2015, the Niagara History Center will commemorate those who served with this program and a later presentation by local Civil War researcher Ted Jackson, who will present "The Men of Battery M: Niagara County Answers the Call to the Civil War." The Union's Battery M, 1st NY Light Artillery Regiment, was organized in Lockport primarily with Niagara County men. Battery M saw service in the war's significant battles, including Gettysburg, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, as well as Sherman's March to the Sea.
Jackson will speak about local men who served and the monument to their valor at Gettysburg, as well as an adopted Battery M animal comrade who found a home and final resting place in Niagara County.
Fifer Jim Pace and drummer Brian Seibel are shown re-enacting a Civil War fife and drum corps. They will appear at the Niagara History Center's "Soup and Civil War Songs" event Saturday, Feb. 21.