Carousel Organs weren’t the only things that were unique to The Farmers’ Museum this past weekend — the 77th Regimental Balladeers were also present to perform a special concert.
“The 77th is named after the 77th New York Infantry,” band leader John Quinn stated. “After the Civil War some of the veterans of the 77th regiment formed a band, and they played at public benefits. To keep their memory alive, we took the name 77th Regimental Balladeers.”
The 77th Regimental Balladeers are based in Windham.
“The Cornwallville Church, where we’re performing today, was actually moved from Cornwallville in Greene County, which is only about 10 or 15 minutes from Windham,” Quinn said. “And the (Bump) tavern, that also used to be near Windham. For us, it’s sort of like coming home because we’re familiar with these buildings and we know something about the history of these buildings. They couldn’t be in a better place. It’s an honor for us to play in that church.”
The group is in its 18th year.
“We do a lot of original Civil War music, but we do contemporary songs and tunes as well – written by other living historians who study this type of music. We just did write an original song called ‘Amelia,’ based on the letters that were written between Private John Tidd and his girlfriend, Amelia Haskle. They lived out in the Owego area of the state of New York.”
The band is made up of several educators, historians and a former member of the Metropolitan Opera, Gisella Montanez-Case. Each year on the first weekend in August the group hosts the annual Civil War Heritage Music Gathering in Windham.
“Musicians come from all over the country who do this type of music,” Quinn said. “We re-create an 1860s grand concert exactly as you would have experienced it 150 years ago.”