First muster event of year includes Newnan concert


The 8th Regiment Band of Rome, Ga., will bring a Civil War concert to the Wadsworth Auditorium on Jan. 25. Admission to the event is free. 

First muster event of year includes Newnan concert Brown’s Mill Battlefield Association, in partnership with the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s Sesquicentennial Committee and the Newnan Cultural Arts Commission, is bringing the year’s first Civil War Sesquicentennial event to Newnan on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The 8th Regiment Band of Rome, Ga., will bring a Civil War concert to the Wadsworth Auditorium. Admission to the concert is free.

Also, there will be a muster Saturday at the Brown’s Mill Battlefield Park south of Newnan featuring Phillip’s Legion Artillery/Ferrells Battery C.S. That event is also free to the public. For more information, call Carolyn Turner of the Brown’s Mill Battlefield Association at 770-253-8264.

The concert follows that evening at Wadsworth Auditorium on Jefferson Street in downtown Newnan.

“We hope to see a good turnout for this first Sesquicentennial Civil War event,” said Newnan-Coweta Historical Society director Jeff Bishop.

The 8th Regimental Band formed in 1985 in Rome, Ga., and consists of 25 musicians. Members include players from the Rome Symphony Orchestra, students and staff from local high schools and colleges, and professional musicians.

Casey Thomas directs the band. Current band officers include Stephanie Ragsdale, president; Howard Hubler, vice president; Jim Belzer, business manager; and Greg Crider, secretary. Scott Ragsdale serves as quartermaster. John Carruth is the band’s director emeritus.

John and Jim Belzer handle the historical commentary for each musical selection as the band makes its way through the program. The band presents military music of the Civil War as it was played by musicians of both sides of the conflict. They also dress and act the part.

Performances of the 8th Regimental Band have been part of Civil War battle re-enactments, parades, weddings and military balls.

Civil War bands started when each regiment of the armies tried to create its own musical organization. Most of America's town bands and other professional groups were mustered into service, as well as many groups of lesser abilities.

The 8th Regiment Band of Rome, Ga., performed during the annual B*ATL weekend, marking the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta.

Among the selections was "Hail Columbia," considered an early national anthem for the United States. It is now the entrance march for the vice president of the United States. Carruth said the band has about 25 performances a year, presenting itself as a Union, Confederate or town band. The band has cornets, tenor horns and alto horns, but no trumpets or trombones.

"They have a very mellow tone compared to modern brass," said Carruth. Civil War instruments also had a higher pitch.

The band has about 30 original instruments, but they are known to "break regularly," he said. Bands in both the Federal and Confederate armies largely played similar tunes.

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