A Sesquicentennial Song Cycle
By John A. Walsh
with special guest: LARRY GROCE
Tickets are $15 in advance. $20 at the door. (General Admission)
Featuring an all-star cast of Mid-Ohio Valley musicians, The Fields of Gettysburg will be presented live in concert on the Peoples Bank Theatre stage. The Fields of Gettysburg is a song cycle that weaves together the personal stories of six people – actual people – whose lives intersected on the crossroads of Gettysburg during the epic battle that took place there on July 1-4, 1863.
Certainly a turning point of the American Civil War, Gettysburg is among the ranks of the most significant battles in world history. More than 150,000 lives collided in this small Pennsylvania town (population: 2,500 at the time), creating at least that many viewpoints and a million stories to tell.
The Fields of Gettysburg will introduce the listeners to six of these people and provide a glimpse of their individual and very personal stories. The characters include two key Generals, one Union and one Confederate, who provide the moral bookends to the song cycle; three young Gettysburg natives who grew up together – only to be torn apart by the war – each yearning for some kind of reunion and a return to peace; and a mother who struggles to make sense of her own personal loss as well as the massive loss of the Nation’s youth.
This historically accurate musical presentation includes 12 songs and narrative that pulls the stories together, all back-dropped by a pictorial presentation featuring period photographs and scenery of Gettysburg and the people involved. The entire show runs approximately 80 minutes.
The Peoples Bank Theatre presentation of The Fields of Gettysburg will be the full-ensemble version of the song cycle (acoustic & electric guitars, bass, drums, piano & harmonica played by John A. Walsh, Michael Lipton [Mountain Stage], Ted Harrison, Ammed Solomon [Mountain Stage], Bill White, and Todd Burge). Vocalists for this concert will be the original album cast: Vocalists for this show will be the original album cast: John A. Walsh, Todd Burge, Jess Baldwin, Justin Arthur, Darlene (DJ) Archer and Colton Pack [X- Factor Finalist]. In a very special guest appearance, Mountain Stage’s Larry Groce will play the Narrator.
Groce and his wife Sandra, violist with the West Virginia Symphony, have made a new studio recording called “Live Forever”. It features three of Larry’s original songs and eight covers, mostly songs connected to Mountain Stage over the years. They’ll perform an opening set of songs from the recording accompanied by Michael Lipton (electric guitar – he played on the album), Ted Harrison (bass) and Ammed Solomon (drums and percussion).
Composed by Vienna, West Virginia’s John A. Walsh, The Fields of Gettysburg has been received with wide acclaim since its release in 2013. The show was featured on NPR’s Mountain Stage; and the CD is available at The Gettysburg National Park’s Museum Gift Store, Tamarack’s The Best of West Virginia, and the Steam Into History Railroad Gift Shop (New Hope, PA). CDs & downloads of The FOG have been purchased and enjoyed all over America and the world including Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and The Netherlands.
The Fields of Gettysburg has strong ties to Marietta, Ohio. Walsh, White and Arthur are all hometown boys; Jessica Baldwin now calls Marietta home; and Todd Burge is deeply involved developing and promoting the local music scene in both Marietta and Parkersburg.
The recording, in addition to the players presenting at the PBT concert, includes an array of seasoned Appalachian musicians; including, two-time Grammy winner, Tim O’Brien and Mountain Stage founder/host, Larry Groce. CDs and Download Cards will be available at the show.
Visit www.thefieldsofgettysburg.com for more information about The Fields of Gettysburg , the story and the people involved in the creation of this song cycle.
JOHN A. WALSH
As Lieutenant General James Longstreet & Acoustic Guitars
Born in North Tonawanda, New York, John was raised from a young age in Marietta, Ohio; where he began playing guitar and writing songs at age 11 in 1974. He cut his musical teeth on the great Singer/Songwriters of the 1960’s & 1970’s. From those early days, Walsh continually refined his skills and now has over 40 years of writing experience under his belt.
His special talent for lyrical depth coupled with an oft-times off-the-beaten-path style of chord progression and song structure renders unique, listenable and memorable songs. His songs have been described as “intensely personal,” “he sang what I wanted to say…” and, “the lyrics read like a painting…” Walsh is also an accomplished guitarist and vocalist blessed with a very listenable tonal range.
Over the years, Walsh has written scores of songs and has performed both as a soloist and in a variety of bands all over the United States. John has had the opportunity to play on the same stage with notables such as Jason Isbell, Lucy Kaplansky, Tim O’Brien, Amanda Shires, Todd Burge and Larkin Poe. He has released nine albums (as a soloist, with The Fields of Gettysburg ensemble, and with George’s Attic and The Fossils).
After graduating from Salem College (Salem, WV) in 1986, John became an officer in the U.S. Air Force. He and his wife, Darlene, married in 1987 and spent the next ten years living west of the Mississippi, mostly while John served in the USAF. They have lived in California, Wyoming, Texas, Nevada and Iowa. John also served a short tour in Saudi Arabia during Operation Southern Watch in 1995. After separating from the USAF in 1996, the Walsh’s ultimately settled back in the Mid-Ohio Valley at Vienna, West Virginia. John and Darlene have lived in Vienna, West Virginia, since 1996 and have two daughters, Emily and Caroline.
John became immediately active in the local music scene after relocating to Vienna. In addition to playing live regularly, Walsh has recorded his music extensively. He currently serves as a board member of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame; also, John formerly served on the Colony Theater Hippodrome Restoration board (now the Peoples Bank Theatre in Marietta, Ohio), he still serves on the Theatre’s finance committee. Walsh was instrumental in the development and opening of The Adelphia Music Hall, now a premier live music venue in Marietta.
In 2013, John released The Fields of Gettysburg to coincide with the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. John’s all original song cycle brought real historical characters to life, enabling the listener to get to know people of the day on a personal level. The record, co-produced by Parkersburg singer/songwriter, Todd Burge, brought together an impressive ensemble of musicians, including Mountain Stage’s Larry Groce and Michael Lipton, two-time Grammy winner Tim O’Brien, Jessica Baldwin, Colton Pack and Justin Arthur. Met with wide critical acclaim, The Fields of Gettysburg was featured on NPR’s Mountain Stage and is currently available at Tamarack and The Gettysburg National Park’s Museum Gift Store. For more information on John and his music, please visit www.johnawalsh.com
As The Narrator
Larry Groce is a singer, songwriter and one of the founders of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Mountain Stage, distributed nationally by NPR. He’s been host and artistic director of that show since its beginning in 1983. He was also one of the founders and Executive Director of FestivALL Charleston, a ten day multi-arts festival, from 2005 until 2015.
Larry has recorded twenty-four albums and the top ten hit single “Junk Food Junkie”. The albums include many releases for Walt Disney records, one of which was nominated for a “Children’s Record of the Year” Grammy.
The New York Times, People Magazine and other national publications have profiled him and he’s performed on The Tonight Show, The Merv Griffin Show, American Bandstand, The Midnight Special, The Rich Little Show, Nashville Now, The Disney Channel, Doctor Demento (JFJ was Demento’s “Song of the Year” in ‘76) and A Prairie Home Companion.
Larry was born in Dallas and lived in New York and Los Angeles before moving to West Virginia in 1972 as part of a National Endowment for the Arts Musician-in-Residence program. While living here, he also did musician residencies in twenty-two other states. Along with his music and production work over the years, he owned the Morgantown School of Ballet, co-owned the alternative news and humor magazine Graffiti, and acted in the feature film, Paradise Park.
In 2008 Larry was awarded the West Virginia Governor’s Award for Leadership in the Arts, in 2010 he was inducted into the West Virginia Broadcasters Hall of Fame and in 2012 he was named Outstanding West Virginian by the West Virginia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. In 2013 he was an honoree at the Charleston Community Music Association’s Arts Awards and he has received honorary Doctorate of Music degrees from the University of Charleston and West Virginia Wesleyan College.
He and his wife Sandra recently recorded and released an album called “Live Forever” produced by Don Dixon.
As Brigadier General John Buford & Harmonica
Employing wry humor, dexterous guitar work and drawing on a rich variety of life experiences, Todd Burge has emerged as one of West Virginia’s most prolific singer/songwriters. Burge, has played everything from Alternative Rock to Contemporary Folk, performing concerts at festivals and in venues as diverse as CBGB’s, The Country Music Hall of Fame, The Kennedy Center, and of course, literally hundreds of clubs including the obscure, to the world famous Caffe Lena, Club Passim and Music City Roots. He is a repeat guest on NPR’s Mountain Stage and has been called the “dean of WV songwriters, the best we have”, by its host, Larry Groce. In 2014, Burge wrote 13 songs for a musical adaptation of Love’s Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare. The show received great reviews as it was performed at Muskingum Park in Marietta Ohio, produced by Marietta College/The Colony Theatre and directed by Geoff Coward.
Burge, who may be best known for his method of writing songs from the perspective of odd characters, bugs and animals (listen to Building Characters produced by Don Dixon) has recently released an album of very personal songs entitled Imitation Life (2015). The recording was produced by long term collaborator, Tim O’Brien. O’Brien is an inductee of the WV Music Hall of Fame and Grammy winner. The album includes a song called Change (For Clean Water) which features Kathy Mattea on backing vocals. Todd Burge resides in Parkersburg WV with his wife Lisa and their children, Will and Sophia. For more info on Todd & his music, visit www.toddburge.com.
As Mary Wade
Jessica’s voice has been described as “world class,” “effortless,” and “pure beauty.” From a young age, she has loved singing, playing, and listening to very different styles of music. Since she couldn’t pick just one style to study, she earned classical singing degrees from Alderson-Broaddus University and Meredith College and then studied at the CCM Voice Pedagogy Institute in CCM genres like soul, R&B, blues, jazz, funk, country, and musical theatre. She continues to sing, play, and teach in as many different styles and groups as possible, and enjoys fusing styles in her arrangements and compositions. For more on Jessica Baldwin and her music, visit www.jessbaldwin.com.
As Private Wesley Culp
Justin Arthur is a 32-year-old singer/songwriter hailing from Marietta, Ohio. Growing up on country and Motown, and later discovering punk on his own, Justin creates a unique blend of these diverse influences in his music. Not learning to play guitar until the age of 19, Justin has made up for his late musical start by playing countless shows. Being a member of bands Sacra Via, Radio 1, and The Hopewell, in addition to playing solo, has allowed Justin to play shows throughout the Midwest. Never wanting his music to be limited by “labels”, Justin plays a variety of music from different genres. His musical diversity has afforded him the opportunity to open for a wide range of musicians including Black Stone Cherry, Smile Empty Soul, Hawthorne Heights, Royal Bliss, Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root, Atom Smash, Joe Diffie, Jake Owen, Bucky Covington, and Keith Burns of Trick Pony.
As Corporal Johnston “Jack” Skelly
Colton Pack is country music singer from West Virginia. He now resides in Nashville pursuing his passion to be a country music artist. During 2014 he was selected as an Up and Coming Artist for the CMA Fest in Nashville, TN. He burst onto the national scene after appearing on season 3 of X Factor USA. Colton was the lead singer of the country trio, Restless Road, formed by music mastermind, Simon Cowell. The group went on to finish 4th on the show. Shortly after the competition Colton announced a return to his solo career.
Colton was first discovered and mentored at the age of 15 by prominent songwriter/producer, Jeff Stevens. As a result Colton and a host of other distinguished Nashville songwriters have collaborated to write numerous songs. Colton maintains a busy performance schedule including opening for the likes of Dustin Lynch and Kellie Pickler. Whether captivating audiences with soulful acoustic performances or rocking the house with his band, the result is the same: great country music! Colton’s musical instincts and unique vocal tones have continued to amaze those whom he has been fortunate enough to work with or perform for.
As Jenny Wade
Darlene Jane “DJ” Archer is a gifted young vocalist. Her wistful performance of “A Daydream Away” is captivating. No doubt her real life experience as a military spouse gives her a special insight into Jennie’s longing for the return of her fiancée from the war.
DJ began singing in choirs at just three years old, eventually becoming a key voice in the Parkersburg High School (Parkersburg, West Virginia) A Cappella & Chamber Choirs. She has also performed in several musicals including “Annie” and “Honk.” DJ’s singing skills enabled her to win the Parkersburg Homecoming Talent Show competition. DJ is the Youth Director at Wayside United Methodist Church in Vienna, WV. Ms. Archer and her young family make their home in Vienna, West Virginia.
Bill White is an active advocate for music education in Ohio’s schools. He currently serves as President, Ohio Foundation for Music Education, Ohio Music Education Association.
His interest in music began with piano lessons at age five. He later played woodwinds in the Marietta High School Band where he won the John Philip Sousa Award in 1965. He left Ohio University to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. Attached to a helicopter squadron in New River, North Carolina, he spent free time in a rock band playing chicken-wire stages in oyster bars and juke joints along the Carolina coast.
Deployed to Vietnam in 1970, Bill connected with a detachment of the famed Marine Corps Band sent to Quảng Nam province for ceremonial command transfers to the South Vietnamese military. When these conservatory-trained musicians formed an off-duty band, The Mash Sinners, they convinced their commanding officer to borrow Bill as a temporary keyboard player. For a few weeks he was able to leverage his keyboard skills into a counterpoint experience to helicopter gunships and supply missions to firebases throughout the 1st Marine Division area of operations.
Bill writes contemporary and pastoral music. His original Bless the Ring is frequently performed during the exchange of rings in the nuptial mass. He continues to play keys whenever he can, including acoustic gigs with long-time friend and collaborator John A. Walsh, and occasional performances with The Fossils.
In 1985 Bill co-founded Offenberger & White, Inc. (OffWhite), a Marietta-based marketing firm specializing in life science, biotech and technology communications for clients in the USA, Europe and Asia.
Electric Guitars, Omnichord
Born in Ossining, NY, and raised in Miami, FL, Michael Lipton moved to a farm in rural Calhoun County in 1973, when he was 19. While there, he formed the band Big Money, which played around the mid-Atlantic for a decade. He also started the county’s first organized trash collection service, King Pin Trash Service. He began freelancing for The Charleston Gazette in the mid-‘80s and, after his house was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, moved to Charleston. He continued writing regular features, columns and reviews for the Gazette as well as becoming co-publisher and editor of the alternative newspaper Graffiti – which he edited until it was sold in 2005.
His writing has appeared in magazines including “The Village Voice,” “Spin,” “LA Weekly,” “Hustler” and “The New York Times.”
In the late ‘80s, he began playing in the “Mountain Stage” house band and formed The Carpenter Ants, an R&B group which has now been together for 25 years. The band has toured Moscow twice, appeared on NPR’s “Mountain Stage” and “Whad’Ya Know?” and toured with the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Along the way he has toured with various bands, produced numerous CDs, scored three feature films, documentaries and shorts.
Recently, he won an Edward R. Murrow Award for his work on Trey Kay’s radio documentary “The Great Textbook War.” After selling Graffiti in 2005, Lipton founded the WV Music Hall of Fame and continues to be the organization’s director.
Ted Harrison graduated from West Virginia State College with a degree in music education as a tuba player in 1978. He played in the Ringling Bros Circus band when it visited his hometown in 1976. In his junior year of college, he picked up the electric bass ironically as a secondary instrument and immediately fell in love with it.
He has been playing in the group The Carpenter Ants with Michael Lipton since 1987. As a member of that group, he has been fortunate to perform with, thanks to Lipton’s two decade-long association with the internationally syndicated radio show Mountain Stage, a long, varied list of players that have sat in at after-show jams for sets that ping-pong from rock ’n’ roll and blues to country and gospel. That list includes Radney Foster, Bill Lloyd, Don Dixon, Mollie O’Brien, Tony Furtado, Hayes Carll, Duke Robillard, Greg Martin, Terry Reid, Ben Sollee, Dwight Twilley, Bill Danoff, The Sweetback Sisters, The Alternate Routes, Robyn Hitchcock, the late Luther Allison, English rock legend Kevin Coyne, Bill Kirchen, Curtis Stigers, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, Howard Levy, ex-Replacement Slim Dunlap, Marshall Crenshaw, Jason Isbell, John Mooney and Chip “Wild Thing” Taylor.
Harrison has recorded with Don Dixon, Bill Kirchen, Tim O’Brien, original NRBQ guitarist Steve Ferguson, Hammond B-3 master Winston Walls, Todd Burge and legendary dobro player Jerry Douglas.
Drums & Percussion
Ammed Solomon has been a fixture in WV Music since the 1980’s. He is in his 27th season as the House Drummer for NPR’s nationally syndicated Mountain Stage and can be heard playing behind such notable artists as Dr. John, The Indigo Girls, Warren Zevon, Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Daniel Lanois, among countless others. Ammed has been the rhythmic backbone for past regional favorites such as Putnam County Pickers, Stark Raven, The Fabulous Twister Sisters, Julie Adams and The Rhino Boys, The Souol Doctors and Big Planet Soul. He can currently be heard with the VooDoo Katz, Shayar and Krooshal Force, and occasionally with the band he co-founded, The Bark-O-Loungers.
Ammed currently offers professional-level private lessons to WV’s Youth in addition to providing educationally-backed and curriculum-based percussion/rhythm workshops to public and private schools and organizations throughout the region.
Julie Zickefoose writes and paints from Indigo Hill, an 80-acre sanctuary in Whipple, Ohio. She shares its diverse beauty in prose, poetry, song, watercolors, photoblogs, stationery, and even jigsaw puzzles. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has published Letters from Eden and The Bluebird Effect, will be joined by Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest, coming out in April 2016. This groundbreaking book depicts nestling development day by day, in more than 500 life-sized watercolor studies. Getting people excited about nature is what Julie does best, and, in addition to writing and illustrating her books, she now leads natural history excursions for Holbrook Travel.