The Thaumaturgy Department

(It's dramaturgy, not thaumaturgy.)

Gavin
CENTERSTAGE
Baltimore
Maryland
USA

thaumaturg
Main Entry: thau·ma·turg
Pronunciation: \ˈthȯ-mə-ˌtərj\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from New Latin thaumaturgus, from Greek thaumatourgos working miracles, from thaumat-, thauma miracle + ergon work — more at Theater, Work

2014-2015 Season:
Amadeus
Next to Normal
It's A Wonderful Life
One Night in Miami
Herzog Rep
After the Revolution
4000 Miles
Marley
Play Labs

The official blog of the Dramaturgy Department at Baltimore's CENTERSTAGE. For posts related to our current and upcoming shows, click the links to the right. Alternatively, you could begin at the beginning, and explore our posts in chronological order.

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Snapshots in time from 2-day workshop for AT WAR WITH OURSELVES, a secular oratorio composed by Terence Blanchard to a libretto by Nikky Finney, to be performed by the Kronos Quartet and an enormous choir next September (2015) - commemorating the 150th year since the end of the US Civil War. #AWWO @t_blanchard @kronosquartet @TheClariceUMD @andmegansaid



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thecivilwarparlor:

Recreating Traditional American Music - Rhythm Bones, Banjos, & Fiddles

Carolina Chocolate Drops~

With their 2010 Nonesuch debut, Genuine Negro Jig—which garnered a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy—the Carolina Chocolate Drops proved that the old-time, fiddle and banjo-based music they’d so scrupulously researched and passionately performed could be a living, breathing, ever-evolving sound. Starting with material culled from the Piedmont region of the Carolinas, they sought to freshly interpret this work, not merely recreate it, highlighting the central role African-Americans played in shaping our nation’s popular music from its beginnings more than a century ago.

The virtuosic trio’s approach was provocative and revelatory. Their concerts, The New York Times declared, were “an end-to-end display of excellence… They dip into styles of southern black music from the 1920s and ’30s—string- band music, jug-band music, fife and drum, early jazz—and beam their curiosity outward. They make short work of their instructive mission and spend their energy on things that require it: flatfoot dancing, jug playing, shouting.”

  • Rolling Stone Magazine described the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ style as “dirt-floor-dance electricity.” If you ask the band, that is what matters most. Yes, banjos and black string musicians first got here on slave ships, but now this is everyone’s music. It’s okay to mix it up and go where the spirit moves.
  • “An appealing grab-bag of antique country, blues, jug band hits and gospel hollers, all given an agreeably downhome production. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are still the most electrifying acoustic act around.” -The Guardian
  • “The Carolina Chocolate Drops are…revisiting, with a joyful vengeance, black string-band and jug-band music of the Twenties and Thirties—the dirt-floor dance electricity of the Mississippi Sheiks and Cannon’s Jug Stompers.” —Rolling Stone

—Michael Hill

http://www.carolinachocolatedrops.com/

Because. Ineffable delight.



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thecivilwarparlor:

The Banjo And The Civil War- An American Treasure
The banjo and fiddle were the most popular instruments of both player and listener. When the war broke out and the call to arms on both sides was answered, there were literally thousands of banjo pickers, fiddlers, and bones players joining up, both professional and amateurs.
Mr. A. Baur in his series of articles called “Reminiscences of a Banjo Player”, published in the February, 1893, issue of S.S. Stewarts “Banjo and Guitar Journal”. Baur had learned the banjo as a boy in the early 1850s and had joined the Union army early in the war. He writes “…
"In 1864 there very few regiments in the service that had more than one wagon for the whole regiment… Strict orders were at all times issued that no baggage must be carried for an enlisted man in any of the wagons…Where theres a will, theres a way, and a few of us managed with the help of a friendly teamster to stow away a tackhead banjo and an accordion…"
"If the weather was pleasant a crowd would gather around the camp fire, the banjo and accordion having been sneaked out of the wagon and a door from some farm house or a couple of boards having been put on the ground on one side of the fire, the audience would take its place on the opposite side, when the evenings entertainment would be gone through with. It consisted of songs with banjo and accordion accompaniment, stories of home and jig dancing. The performances were crude but helped while away many a lonely hour and remind us of home and friends in the far north."
http://www.drhorsehair.com/war.html

thecivilwarparlor:

The Banjo And The Civil War- An American Treasure

The banjo and fiddle were the most popular instruments of both player and listener. When the war broke out and the call to arms on both sides was answered, there were literally thousands of banjo pickers, fiddlers, and bones players joining up, both professional and amateurs.

Mr. A. Baur in his series of articles called “Reminiscences of a Banjo Player”, published in the February, 1893, issue of S.S. Stewarts “Banjo and Guitar Journal”. Baur had learned the banjo as a boy in the early 1850s and had joined the Union army early in the war. He writes “…

  • "In 1864 there very few regiments in the service that had more than one wagon for the whole regiment… Strict orders were at all times issued that no baggage must be carried for an enlisted man in any of the wagons…Where theres a will, theres a way, and a few of us managed with the help of a friendly teamster to stow away a tackhead banjo and an accordion…"
  • "If the weather was pleasant a crowd would gather around the camp fire, the banjo and accordion having been sneaked out of the wagon and a door from some farm house or a couple of boards having been put on the ground on one side of the fire, the audience would take its place on the opposite side, when the evenings entertainment would be gone through with. It consisted of songs with banjo and accordion accompaniment, stories of home and jig dancing. The performances were crude but helped while away many a lonely hour and remind us of home and friends in the far north."

http://www.drhorsehair.com/war.html



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thecivilwarparlor:

Civil War Soldier Joel W. Sweeney - Leader Of The Famous “Virginia Minstrels” Helped Popularize The Banjo Throughout America And Europe. 
The banjo has become the quintessential American musical instrument. It combines the traditions of the simple stringed gourd from African slaves with the ballads and tunes of the Scotch-Irish and English who settled Virginia. Appomattox County was the birthplace of Joel Sweeney, the man who popularized the 5-string banjo.
Credited with adding the banjo’s fifth string, which according to legend was for an instrument he created for his niece between 1831 and 1840. He supposedly added the fifth string because he was “allegedly unhappy with the limited rhythm and melodic variation of the four-string banjos popularly in use.”
Until the 1830s, the banjo was played solely by African Americans. A few musicians performed on stage in “the Louisiana Banjou style” by the middle of the decade, but the instrument used was the Violin. Sweeney began performing with the banjo in the early 1830s. He first performed throughout central Virginia for county court sessions.
Please Note The Origins Of The Banjo In America! 
Eastern Virginia is known to have had slaves who played banjo. President Thomas Jefferson added as a footnote to his Notes on Virginia: “The instrument proper to them [the slaves] is the banjar, which they brought hither from Africa.”
 Bailey, J: “Historical Origin and Stylistic Developments of the Five-String Banjo”, p. 59, The Journal of American Folklore, 1972.
http://kentuckyexplorer.com/nonmembers/01-01023.html

thecivilwarparlor:

Civil War Soldier Joel W. Sweeney - Leader Of The Famous “Virginia Minstrels” Helped Popularize The Banjo Throughout America And Europe. 

The banjo has become the quintessential American musical instrument. It combines the traditions of the simple stringed gourd from African slaves with the ballads and tunes of the Scotch-Irish and English who settled Virginia. Appomattox County was the birthplace of Joel Sweeney, the man who popularized the 5-string banjo.

Credited with adding the banjo’s fifth string, which according to legend was for an instrument he created for his niece between 1831 and 1840. He supposedly added the fifth string because he was “allegedly unhappy with the limited rhythm and melodic variation of the four-string banjos popularly in use.”

  • Until the 1830s, the banjo was played solely by African AmericansA few musicians performed on stage in “the Louisiana Banjou style” by the middle of the decade, but the instrument used was the Violin. Sweeney began performing with the banjo in the early 1830s. He first performed throughout central Virginia for county court sessions.

Please Note The Origins Of The Banjo In America! 

  • Eastern Virginia is known to have had slaves who played banjo. President Thomas Jefferson added as a footnote to his Notes on Virginia: “The instrument proper to them [the slaves] is the banjar, which they brought hither from Africa.”
  1.  Bailey, J: “Historical Origin and Stylistic Developments of the Five-String Banjo”, p. 59, The Journal of American Folklore, 1972.
  2. http://kentuckyexplorer.com/nonmembers/01-01023.html


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thecivilwarparlor:

”The Bone Player” by William Sidney Mount, 1856

A pair of wooden musical bones

The bones are a Musical Instrument (more specifically, a folk instrument) which, at the simplest, consists of a pair of animal bones, or pieces of wood or a similar material. Sections of large rib bones and lower leg bones are the most commonly used true bones, although wooden sticks shaped like the earlier true bones are now more often used. The technique probably arrived in the U.S. via Irish and other European immigrants, and has a history stretching back to ancient China, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

Beginning of the Civil War-America in 1860 is enjoying a spirited musical age..

Music is played, sung, and heard everywhere: in the theater houses, in genteel parlors, on street corners, aboard riverboats, in churches and social halls, in slave cabins deep in the heart of the plantation South, on the crooked front porches of Appalachian homesteads, in lessons chanted in rustic schoolrooms, and at the fraternity sings of college chapter houses. They are mostly amateur soldiers, trained for just a few weeks, if at all, before battle. Their average age is 18. They bring into the armies their civilian habits, their hobbies and pastimes, their baseballs and banjos.

Above all, soldiers carry with them their songs.

In North Carolina, mountain boys pick up hand-me-down fiddles or make their own, slipping the dried tail from a timber rattlesnake inside the sound box to dehumidify the precious wood during the warm, rainy months. Farm boys make cigar-box banjos or play the “bones” — a percussion instrument common in minstrel shows carved from the shinbones of oxen or of a hardwood, such as ash or maple.

http://www.ourstate.com/civil-war-songs/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bones_(instrument)



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thecivilwarparlor:

Soldier’s Music
When soldiers North and South marched off to war, they took with them a love of song that transcended the political and philosophical divide between them. Music passed the time; it entertained and comforted; it brought back memories of home and family; it strengthened the bonds between comrades and helped to forge new ones. And, in the case of the Confederacy, it helped create the sense of national identity and unity so necessary to a fledgling nation. Bernard writes, “In camp and hospital they sang — sentimental songs and ballads, comic songs and patriotic numbers….The songs were better than rations or medicine.” By Bernard’s count, “…during the first year [of the war] alone, an estimated two thousand compositions were produced, and by the end of the war more music had been created, played, and sung than during all our other wars combined. More of the music of the era has endured than from any other period in our history.” 
Photo Library of Congress
http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/on-the-homefront/culture/music/music.html
Bernard, Kenneth A., Lincoln and the Music of the Civil War, Caxton Printers, Caldwell, Idaho, 1966. 

thecivilwarparlor:

Soldier’s Music

When soldiers North and South marched off to war, they took with them a love of song that transcended the political and philosophical divide between them. Music passed the time; it entertained and comforted; it brought back memories of home and family; it strengthened the bonds between comrades and helped to forge new ones. And, in the case of the Confederacy, it helped create the sense of national identity and unity so necessary to a fledgling nation. 

Bernard writes, “In camp and hospital they sang — sentimental songs and ballads, comic songs and patriotic numbers….The songs were better than rations or medicine.” By Bernard’s count, “…during the first year [of the war] alone, an estimated two thousand compositions were produced, and by the end of the war more music had been created, played, and sung than during all our other wars combined. More of the music of the era has endured than from any other period in our history.” 

Photo Library of Congress

http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/on-the-homefront/culture/music/music.html

Bernard, Kenneth A., Lincoln and the Music of the Civil War, Caxton Printers, Caldwell, Idaho, 1966. 



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BOSLEY’S BACK! Tomorrow night. Post-show. 9:30pm. 1st floor lobby. Bar’s open.Guys, they’re awesome. 1950s rock & roll, with an awesome entertainer at the helm.And the drinks are oh-so-cheap. What’s not to like?

Check out the music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjwGDVjlX8o and then come.

Cheers,Kellie

BOSLEY - SHARPSHOOTER OFFICIAL VIDEO (by BosleyVideo)



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Come, rest in this bosom, my own stricken deer, Though the herd have fled from thee, thy home is still here: Here still is the smile that no cloud can o’ercast, And the heart and the hand all thy own to the last. Oh! what was love made for, if ‘tis not the same Through joy and through torments, through glory and shame! I knew not, I ask not if guilt’s in that heart, I but know that I love thee, whatever thou art! Thou hast call’d me thy angel, in moments of bliss, — Sill thy Angel I’ll be, ‘mid the horrors of this, — Through the furnace, unshrinking, thy steps to pursue, And shield thee, and save thee, or perish there too!

Thomas Moore (1779-1852)

Lyrics for what was, allegedly, Poe’s favorite song.



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Cleftomaniacs! Lobby full of folks stop after Into the Woods to enjoy a little a capella showcase.

Cleftomaniacs! Lobby full of folks stop after Into the Woods to enjoy a little a capella showcase.



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"Who’s that I see walkin’ in these woods?"

Sam the Sam sings “Hey there, Little Red Riding Hood”



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