Mar 22

The nave of the Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Gettysburg. This view was taken facing south at approximately 3:30 PM on Friday, March 11, 2011.

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church is the oldest structure in Gettysburg continuously used as a Church. It was founded in 1835 to be the English speaking Lutheran Church in Gettysburg (St. James Lutheran Church, in existence since 1789, conducted its services in German), and to be the primary assembly hall for the Lutheran Theological Seminary and for Pennsylvania (Gettysburg) College.

“Candlelight at Christ Church,” one of Gettysburg’s best kept secrets, is a very informative and entertaining contribution to our community. This free, historical (not religious) program is offered on Saturday evenings. Visitors can sit in the building that was a Civil War hospital during the battle. They hear stories about what the soldiers and citizens experienced, and also songs from the period.

Today we present to you excerpts from the musical portion of the program as well as a variety of historical information on Civil War music from Beth Folkemer (the program’s music coordinator). The CD “Songs and Stories of a Civil War Hospital: Candlelight at Christ Church,” as well as the accompanying book, A Sanctuary for the Wounded: The Civil War Hospital at Christ Lutheran Church, Gettysburg, PA are both available for purchase from the Adams County Historical Society. We will present the “stories” portion of the Candlelight program in a future posting.

http://www.candlelightatchrist.org/

Our musicians who performed the songs you will hear in this post are from left to right: Joel Folkemer, Beth Folkemer, and Stephen Folkemer. The Folkemers are involved in a number of musical projects, including the Folkemer Family Band, Cormorant’s Fancy (Celtic), and Folk and Friends (American folk and Civil War era music). This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 3:30 PM on Friday, March 11, 2011.

Beth Folkemer, music coordinator for the Candlelight program, introduces herself and explains the instrumentation used during the Candlelight program. This video was taken facing southeast at approximately 3:30 PM on Friday, March 11, 2011.

Joel, Beth, and Stephen Folkemer perform “Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!” This video was taken facing southwest at approximately 3:30 PM on Friday, March 11, 2011.

Joel, Beth, and Stephen Folkemer perform “The Wayfaring Stranger.” This video was taken facing southwest at approximately 3:30 PM on Friday, March 11, 2011.

Joel, Beth, and Stephen Folkemer perform “The Faded Coat of Blue.” This video was taken facing southwest at approximately 3:30 PM on Friday, March 11, 2011.

Other members of Folk and Friends who perform for Candlelight at Christ Church include Meg Folkemer, Karen Ward, Paul Dende, and Leighton Rice. The church’s original windows were plain glass but were damaged severely during the battle — for more of a history on the church itself, we encourage you to view our March 2009 coverage. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 3:30 PM on Friday, March 11, 2011.

Beth Folkemer provides some background on the songs performed for us today. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 3:30 PM on Friday, March 11, 2011.

The church’s newly restored reed organ. “A typical Candlelight evening begins at 7:30 PM with music on the church steps (weather permitting) followed by the main program in the church proper at 8:00 PM. The main program typically includes: a violin prelude, welcoming comments, a brief church history, accounts of Chaplain Howell’s death and a local citizen’s escape into the church bell tower, first-hand accounts of the Christ Church hospital as told by a wounded soldier and a care-giving nurse, Civil War poetry by Walt Whitman, passages from Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, and music by local musicians.” This view was facing southeast at approximately 3:30 PM on Friday, March 11, 2011.

Beth Folkemer explains the role of the reed organ shown in the previous photograph. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 3:30 PM on Friday, March 11, 2011.

In this video, Beth discusses the interaction between traditional music and the music that was popular during the American Civil War, and explains how music was spread during the Civil War period. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 3:30 PM on Friday, March 11, 2011.

Rickard “Ricky” Czar will be 15 in June and enter 9th grade at Gettysburg Area High School in the fall. He plays percussion in the school band and orchestra, with his own band, “Northern Rain” and with the Gettysburg College Symphony Band. He is in the Christ Lutheran Handbell Choir and St. James Lutheran Church New Day Band. He is learning to play piano. Ricky participates in AYSO soccer as a team player and referee. He coaches Optimist basketball and has been a youth counselor at Peace Camp and at Strawberry Hill’s Junior Naturalist Camp. He performed as a drummer boy in the Broadway-style musical “Battlecry” which opened in Gettysburg in summer 2009. Since then he has continued acting in school productions, Civil War reenactments, and in “Candlelight at Christ Church”.

In this video, Ricky plays his drum for us on the steps of Christ Lutheran Church.

The CD “Songs and Stories of a Civil War Hospital: Candlelight at Christ Church” is available for purchase at the Adams County Historical Society’s Online Giftshop, which can be reached by clicking here. The CD contains 27 songs and stories presented for the Christ Church Candlelight program. We will be covering additional aspects of the Candlelight program in greater detail in a future posting.


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