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Special choir to commemorate Antietam Battle

By Staff | Sep 21, 2012

A 50-voice community choir will help continue to commemorate the battle of Antietam with a set of performances on Sunday, Sept 23.

The choir, led by Dr. Georgiann Toole, will perform a “choral mediation,” which, as Toole explained, will provide concert-goers with a unique cooperation of music and history.

Toole, who teaches at Shepherd University as part of the education department, said that the performance will combine singing, a moment of silence and recited words.

Toole, who is also the director of the Antietam Women’s Ensemble, said that when asked by the Shepherdstown Ministerial Association to create a program that both celebrated the 250 year anniversary of the town and the anniversary of the Antietam battle, she was challenged to incorporate the 250 theme with the appropriately somber tone of Antietam commemoration.

“We thought about a couple different approaches,” she said.

Using the 250 slogan, ” remember, celebrate, imagine” as a guide, Tootle said she chose pieces that she thought would bring the event’s message full circle. Toole said the group’s message is to remember the history of both battle and the town; celebrate the compassion of those Shepherdstown residents who cared for the many wounded during and after the Antietam battle; and imagine a world with peace.

In between readings and music the audience will be asked to observe a moment of silence.

“We wanted to give people a chance to think about what took place,” Toole said.

Excerpts from found historic journals will be read as well as excerpts from Walt Whitman’s Civil War poetry. The choir pieces being performed include “Workin’ for the Dawn of Peace,” by Jeffers,

“At the River,” by Copland, “Hard Times Come Again No More,” by Foster and more.

The choir, which is made of Shepherdstown residents and participants from around the area of all different ages and background, will perform together for the first and last time on Sunday.

“This is a choir that was put together just for this occasion,” Toole said.

The choir will perform twice on Sunday, first at 3 p.m. and then again, at 6 p.m. at the Presbyterian Meeting House at 100. W. Washington St. Admission to the event is free, but space is limited.