Diana Taraz Performs at First Parish

Diana Taraz

Diane Taraz performs her new Civil War song sampler, “Home Sweet Home,” on October 20 at 7:30 pm in the historic 1847 structure at First Parish, Lexington Center, in a CD release concert co-sponsored by the Lexington Historical Society. Music holds collective memory and sheds light on this turbulent time when the nation was torn asunder and families, too, were bitterly divided. Brothers, cousins and lifelong friends took opposite sides in the conflict, but they shared the songs they all knew. “Tenting Tonight,” “Dixie,” and songs beloved by both North and South are in the evening’s repertoire.

Saturday, October 20
First Parish
7 Harrington Rd.
Tickets: $12.00

Dressed in period attire, Taraz evokes this dark but inspiring time. Re-enactors will be on hand adding to the atmosphere and answering questions about the life of a Union soldier. Concertgoers will get a close-up view of a diminutive, evocative original 1860s gown on display and glimpse Taraz’s recently acquired cache of actual period sheet music at this special celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

On her new recording, Taraz has collected songs that reflect the diversity of people from all walks of life struggling through wartime. The album is anchored in the title song, “Home Sweet Home,” which captures the longing of soldiers as well as their loved ones.

The Civil War era also gives us some raucous tunes. Anyone who sang “Jimmy crack corn, and I don’t care!” as a child is welcome to join in the fun as Taraz rousts the crowd into a sing-along or two. Taraz is familiar to many as the leader of the Historical Society’s Colonial Singers. “Diane has a unique ability to tell history through music,” noted Susan Bennett, Lexington Historical Society Executive Director. “Her resonant interpretations transport us to the Civil War days.”

Taraz will bring both her guitar and mountain dulcimer, but an authentic 1860s songfest must have banjo, harmonica and jaw harp. Joining her in concert will be harmonica and jaw harp phenom Chris Turner, singer John Yannis, plus banjo man John Berger, one of Taraz’s band mates from the Gloucester Hornpipe and Clog Society.

“The history of the time is revealed,” says Taraz, “in details about the music of the era – the Union Army had 32,000 drums! – and about the songs, themselves. For example, Abraham Lincolnnsaid that music has more power ‘than a hundred generals and ‘Dixie’ was a favorite song of his.” Fittingly, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” with lyrics penned by Julia Ward Howe of Massachusetts, will provide the concert finale.

To reserve tickets call 781-862-1703. Admission is $12 ($10 for Society members).

For more information visit www.dianetaraz.com/civilwar.htm or www.lexingtonhistory.org

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