Civil War Weekend at the NYS Museum

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Civil War Weekend at NYS MuseumNationally acclaimed folk musicians Jay Ungar and Molly Mason along with Kim and Reggie Harris will present a free concert at the Clark Auditorium of the New York State Museum in Albany at 7:00 p.m. this Saturday, September 21st.  The concert features Civil War music and highlights a weekend celebration of the Museum’s award-winning exhibition “An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War.”

Jay and Molly are one of the most renowned duos in the American acoustic music scene and are celebrated for their work on the Ken Burns PBS documentary The Civil War. Ungar’s composition, the haunting “Ashokan Farewell,” was the documentary’s signature tune and was nominated for an Emmy.

The duo will be joined by Kim and Reggie Harris, internationally acclaimed musicians and storytellers who combine traditional African American Spiritual and Freedom songs with original folk tunes and classical, rock, jazz, and pop influences.  They sing of life, love, and the quest for freedom—a theme that relates directly to the Civil War, the years preceding it, and the war’s legacy.

The celebration continues on Sunday, September 22 from 1–4 p.m. with curator based gallery talks, fun-filled children’s activities, panel discussion and musical performance by the 77th NY Regimental Balladeers.

The panel discussion will take place in the Huxley Theater from 1 to 2:30 p.m. It is titled “Abolitionists, the Underground Railroad and the Struggle for Freedom in New York” and features Paul Stewart of the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region; Judith Wellman, retired professor from SUNY Oswego; and Oscar Williams, University at Albany. This program is sponsored by the Center for Applied Historical Research with funding from the New York Council for the Humanities.

The weekend finishes with “Songs & Images of the Civil War,” a free performance by The 77th NY Regimental Balladeer in the Huxley Theater on Sunday, September 22 from 3–4 p.m.

This performance includes many of the classic songs and tunes of the Civil War period. It commemorates the sacrifices of New York’s “Citizen Soldiers” who fought to preserve a more perfect Union and honor the memory of the women who served in the hospitals and organized the Soldiers Relief Fairs to aid sick and wounded soldiers. There will be special tributes to the U.S. Cavalry in honor of Gen. Phil Sheridan, the Gettysburg Address and veterans of all wars. The audience will be encouraged to sing-a-long on some selections.

The State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.  It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is free. Further information about programs and events can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the Museum website at


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