First Call Civil War Expo Joins First Saturday in Historic Downtown Frederick, Maryland on June 7

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At noon on June 7, 2014, the bugle’s First Call will sound, inviting all to the First Call Civil War Expo, offered in conjunction with the “I ART Downtown Frederick” First Saturday event.

At noon on June 7, 2014, the bugle’s First Call will sound, inviting all to the First Call Civil War Expo, offered in conjunction with the “I ART Downtown Frederick” First Saturday event. First Call is an opportunity to preview commemorations and programs planned this summer, and throughout the year, for the 150th commemorations of the Battle of Monocacy and Emancipation in Maryland. Capping a day of activities related to the theme “history meets the arts,” will be an 8 p.m. performance of “Voices of the Civil War” including music, song and spoken word following the course of the Civil War as it touched Maryland and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The next day, a Civil War bonus concert by the Federal City Brass Band will help open Celebrate Frederick’s Summer Concert Series at 5 p.m. in Baker Park. Additionally, First Call is the official launch of “Civil War Selfies: A Photo Journey through the Heart of the Civil War,” which invites the public to engage in new ways with local Civil War heritage. All First Call activities are Free of charge and the public is invited.

The First Call corridor will be located on East Church Street in downtown Frederick, between Market Street and the Museum of Frederick County History at 24 East Church Street. Sixteen museums, historic sites and preservation groups will share information on their programs and resources, and opportunities for visitors to try their hands at such Civil War era arts traditions as sketching, map making, letter writing, photography, quilting and doll making. Most sidewalk displays and art activities on Church Street will wrap up at 6 p.m., while First Saturday, “I Art Downtown Frederick” continues through 9 p.m.

Music and dance will be offered throughout the day, beginning at noon with a bugle echo of “First Call’ which is also familiar as the “Call to the Post” in horseracing. Jari Villanueva, recognized as the country’s foremost expert on military bugle calls will be available to answer questions about the meaning of “First Call” and the role of bugle calls during the Civil War. Hosted by the AARCH Society (African American Resources – Cultural and Heritage), Jackson Chapel United Methodist Church ensembles, Voices of Unity/Men of Jackson, will perform several "negro spirituals", traditional gospel and patriotic selections with historical narration. Ampersand, featuring harmonies by Beth Lawton and Dick Hogan, will bring old time music to modern ears with selections from their CD, “Hard Tack and Home Fires: Songs of the Civil War.” Additionally, the Hancock String Band will perform with a repertoire that ranges from haunting spirituals — such as “Wade in the Water” — to foot-stomping Irish pub songs, like “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” Starting at 4 p.m., the Victorian Dance Ensemble will demonstrate, and teach, reels, quadrilles and other dances that were popular during the American Civil War.

During First Call, the Museum of Frederick County History will host author talks and book signings, starting at noon with a talk by Dennis Frye about his 2012 book, Harpers Ferry Under Fire. The slate of speakers also includes Stephen Bockmiller who will discuss his newest book, Follow the Money: The 1864 Confederate Ransom of Hagerstown, Maryland, and Brett Spaulding who will talk about his 2012 publication, Last Chance for Victory: Jubal Early's 1864 Maryland Invasion. Also at this location, visitors may see the new museum’s new exhibit, “Local Voices, National Stories: A History of Frederick County,” and learn about the upcoming Civil War exhibit to open on June 14, “Huzzah for Liberty! 1864 in Frederick County.” The museum’s Heritage Garden will feature hammer dulcimer music, author book-signings and a wine garden.

An innovative program, “Civil War Selfies: A Photo Journey Through the Heart of the Civil War” will launch at First Call. More than a dozen heritage sites have created unique photo opportunities that tap into themes derived from regional events in 1864, such as: Jubal Early’s 1864 Campaign, Emancipation in Maryland, and the Presidential Election of 1864. Families or individuals will participate by taking pictures of themselves and sharing their pictures the “Civil War Selfies” website, (site will be live on June 7). Visitors may also choose to share via Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. Those who register on the “Civil War Selfies” website are eligible for virtual awards and recognition, including advancement in “military rank” and eligibility for prizes. Among the photo settings being developed, The Museum of Frederick County History’s 1864 exhibit will include a home front vignette, at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine guests may pose in Civil War dress with a mannequin appearing as a Confederate surgeon, and at Monocacy National Battlefield participants peer through boards in the guise of young Glenn Worthington, who observed the Battle of Monocacy from a boarded cellar window as a child.

At 8 p.m., at the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 31 East Church Street, First Call’s finale will be “Voices of the Civil War” – a blend of music, dance, and spoken word with costumed ensembles of the Maryland-based Washington Revels. Heritage Voices (Civil War era focus), Jubilee Voices (African American traditions) and Roustabout String Band (old-time music) will present an evening of words and music from the fields, fireplaces and the front lines. The program will include parlor music, spirituals, work songs, shape-note tunes, camp meeting songs, battlefield songs, and more. President Abraham Lincoln will visit and make a speech to the assemblage, incorporating material from Lincoln’s writing, speeches and letters. The 75-minute program is free of charge and suitable for all ages. Doors open at 7:45 p.m. This performance is made possible in part by a grant from the Frederick Arts Council and by the support of Plamondon Hospitality Partners.

A bonus Civil War concert will be offered the following day, at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 8 at Frederick’s Baker Park Bandshell. A performance by the Federal City Brass Band will bring to life the sound and appearance of a regular U.S. Army regimental brass band of the 1860s. The one-hour concert is the culmination of the weekend’s activities to herald upcoming visitor opportunities related to the anniversaries of the Battle of Monocacy and the Emancipation in Maryland. At 7 p.m. the Summer Concert Series opener continues with headline act, The Rock and Roll Relics. The appearance of the Federal City Brass Band is supported by a grant from the Tourism Council of Frederick County.

First Saturday in June, including the First Call Civil War Expo, is made possible, in part, by a mini-grant from the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, one of twelve certified heritage areas in the State of Maryland. To learn more about the 2014 First Call Civil War Expo, visit or contact Elizabeth Scott Shatto, Executive Director, Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, info(at)heartofthecivilwar(dot)org, 301-600-4042.

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Elizabeth Scott Shatto
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