University Libraries to Host Talk on Civil War Music

News item published on: 2013-09-25 09:40:07

University Libraries at the University of Southern Mississippi will sponsor a talk on Civil War music on Tuesday, October 1, 2013, 6-7 p.m. in the Cook Library Art Gallery (LIB 105A).

The presentation, “Soldiers Singing and Fiddling during the Civil War” by Christopher Goertzen and Bill Rogers, will be half lecture and half concert. The talk will focus on the ballads and lively dances that the soldiers performed in camp, not the marches and bellicose songs of the home front.

Chris Goertzen teaches music history and world music at Southern Miss and plays guitar. His main area of research is the history of American fiddling. Fiddler Bill Rogers, a public health environmentalist, is also the president of the Covington County Genealogical and Historical Society. Chris and Bill met in 2000, when Chris interviewed Bill for the Mississippi Arts Commission. Since then, they have played together at Roots Reunion and other local venues, and also in connection with a travelling Smithsonian exhibit concerning American folk music. They often judge together at the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention.

In September and October, University Libraries is sponsoring the Civil War 150 Lecture Series. This series focuses on different aspects of the Civil War including the life of the average soldier, African American writer and reformer Harriet Jacobs, food in the Civil War, singing and fiddling by soldiers, and slave insurrections in Mississippi. The talks are made possible by a grant from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, The Library of America, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information about this talk or the lecture series, contact Jennifer Brannock at or 601.266.4347.