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Echoes of lost time Pemberville programs recall Civil War PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor   
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 10:43
The Dodworth Saxhorn Band rocks the hits of the Civil War Era. (Photo provided by Dodworth Saxhorn Band)
PEMBERVILLE - Tunes and tales from the Civil War are on tap this weekend at the Pemberville Opera House.
On Friday at 7 p.m. Dr. Robert Goulding will speak on "Andrews' Raiders: Their Quest for The General." The free presentation will include a replica of the train The General. After the talk the 1956 movie "The Great Locomotive Chase," starring Fess Parker, will be shown.
The 22 raiders, led by spy and contraband merchant James J. Andrews, ventured behind Confederate lines in 1862  to steal the locomotive The General and bring it north, burning bridges and tearing up track as the proceeded. They eventually were captured, several were hung and the rest imprisoned. All but one was from Ohio, and one, Elihu Mason, was from Pemberville.
Then on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Dodworth Saxhorn Band will perform in a Live in the House concert. Tickets are $10.
Formed in 1985 and based on a 19th century band from New York, the Dodworth band is a recreation of a 19th century brass band. 
The 17-piece ensemble dresses in period clothing and perform on antique brass valve instruments and drums built between 1840 and 1880, playing original arrangements some obtained from the Library of Congress.
Mike Deren, the band's business manager, said: "We tell the story of the period through the music of the time."
The band does more than play. It uses drama, verse, stories, humor and dance to give insight into a time before there was mass entertainment.
"We do what a brass did when it was the center of entertainment for the community when all music was live."
The instruments are similar to contemporary brass instruments and were invented by Adolphe Sax, the man who also invented the saxophone.
The tubing of the horns is conical meaning the horns' bore broadens more gradually as it winds into the bell than most modern brass instruments which have cylindrical tubing. The saxhorns are more like flugelhorns than trumpets. The result is "a more mellow, more mellifluous sound," Deren said.
That's the sound Lincoln heard. That's the sound Ohio's soldiers and sailors heard as they marched to war.
The tenor horn Deren plays, which is in the range of a trombone, was bought by a friend in 1970 at a yard sale, and then needed $400 worth of renovation put into it.
Deren, a retired music teacher and reed player, was fascinated with the music and bought the horn. Then he sought out a group of like minded performers.
The band has a craftsman who repairs and maintains the horns. That sometimes involves making replacement parts.  "They're fragile to a certain extent," he said.
Given the 150th anniversary commemoration of The Civil War, the band has been playing a lot of music from that period. Songs like "The Bonnie Blue Flag" and "Listen to the Mockingbird" were popular on both sides of the divide.  
"These pieces of Americana  aren't heard any more," he said. "It's our job through these instruments, through our storytelling, to give them life."
And while Lincoln heard this music, another American president Bill Clinton heard the Dodworth Band itself in a White House concert.
The band also provided music for the first three innings of the Ken Burns documentary "Baseball" and will contribute music to the Burns' documentary on the Roosevelt family, which is due out in 2014.
The band plays as many as 70 shows a year, in venues ranging from steamboats to elegant recreations of 109th century balls.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 13:04

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