Singers from Hiram will perform at a special concert celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the military career of James A. Garfield with a special program of contemporary art songs and choral music at 1 p.m. Feb. 10 at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor.
The program, contemporary art song and choral music settings of Civil War poetry titled "Shall We Gather at the River," includes five art songs composed by Dawn Sonntag, Director of Voice and Choral ensembles at Hiram, and features lyrics taken from Civil War-era poetry of literary lights such as Sidney Lanier, Walt Whitman, and Herman Melville.
The program will also include John Kander's setting of "The Letter of Sullivan Ballou, " based on an actual letter written by a Rhode Island soldier during the war between the states, and "Mizpah," a Sonntag composition for the Hiram Women's Choir using the words from Constance Fenimore Woolson's 1874 poem of the same name, which premiered in Washington D.C. in October, 2010.
In addition to Sonntag, the Hiram students, junior Alexis Alvarado, senior Elizabeth Haase and 2012 alumna Jasmine Marks will perform.
The concert is part of a year-long series of events observing the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and Garfield's service in it at The James A. Garfield National Historic Site, commonly known as Lawnfield, which was the Garfield family home.
Before he was elected the 20th president of the United States, Garfield was both a student and president of the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (the precursor of Hiram College), and served as a general in the Union Army. He saw combat as the leader of a regiment of soldiers recruited from Hiram and northeast Ohio during the conflict.
The James A. Garfield Historic Site is operated by the National Park Service, and is located at 8095 Mentor Ave., Mentor.