Students are brought back to the Civil War Era in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Laura Ricciardone

A confederate flag draped over a wooden stand, a table covered with famous artifacts from the Civil War and a variety of instruments arranged in the shape of a semicircle. The aforementioned image greeted audience members on the evening of October 27 at Assumption’s Chapel of the Holy Spirit. Sponsored by the Provost Office, the Assumption College HumanArts Series presented “Music from the Civil War Era,” an event in which various musicians played songs that emerged during the time of the Civil War.

The performers consisted of Allan Mueller and his Civil War Brass Ensemble, which included guest vocalist Ray Bauwens. Bauwens is an alumnus of the Assumption College class of 1982, and he was thrilled to perform music from the Civil War at his alma mater.

“Trying to recapture the emotion of [the Civil War]…the music of [that time] was very simple, and the lyrics and the simple melodies really bring out that emotion,” commented Bauwens on his favorite part of singing songs from this era.

According to Mueller, the goal that he and the other performers had for the evening was to make the audience feel as if they were actually experiencing the Civil War through the music that was being played. A popular song that they performed that aided them in their goal was “Dixie for the Union.” A real crowd pleaser, this song had audience members clapping their hands along to the steady and upbeat tempo of the drums.

Although the audience received the upbeat music with tumultuous applause, the sadder and more melancholy tunes had a deep impact on the audience as well. The song entitled “Little Eva”, in particular, left the crowd heavyhearted with emotion. The simplicity of the piano notes being played, along with Bauwens’ powerful voice expressing anguish, revealed the unfortunate hardships and struggles that accompanied the Civil War.

Once the “Music from the Civil War Era” performance ended, audience members were not shy when it came to expressing how impressed they were with the music. “I thought that the songs sounded haunting, and I mean that in the best way possible,” said junior Cassy Waung. “It’s the type of music you’ll remember days after the performance.”

Junior Julia Kallis gained a newfound interest in the Civil War after witnessing the performance.

“I don’t know much about the little details of the Civil War,” Kallis says, “but after hearing all of the songs tonight…I want to learn more. I think it’s interesting how music can affect people so much and make them more connected to events in history.”

Ultimately, the “Music from the Civil War Era” performance was well received by the Assumption College community. By the end of the impressive performance, the crowd was, as Bauwens hoped, “moved by the music.”

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