Performance Free and Open to the Public Thursday, Nov. 3
(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Oct. 26, 2011) - - - The songs, words and images of the American Civil War will be celebrated on Thursday, Nov. 3 as Columbia State Community College presents the world premiere of The Soldier’s Song, a multi-media reader’s theater musical work. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Cherry Theater located in the Waymon L. Hickman building on the Columbia campus. The performance is free and open to the public.
The Soldier’s Song was written by Grammy Award-winning Nashville songwriter Wood Newton and Daniel L. Johnson, professional songwriter and associate professor of speech communication at Columbia State.
Johnson said that the script was written to tell the story of the music of the Civil War in a historically accurate and entertaining way, incorporating both the music of the era and songs which were written by him and Newton. They will play music indicative of the Civil War era, using instruments such as guitars, mandolins, banjos, fiddles and harmonicas.
The script includes a combination of direct quotations from famous figures of the Civil War era and fictitious monologues by Sam Watkins and James Landon. Watkins, a native of Maury County, was a private in the Confederate army who wrote his famous memoir Co. Aytch after the war. Landon was a sergeant in the Union army who spent six long weeks in Camp Sumter, a Confederate prison camp in Andersonville, Ga.
“Wood and I are very excited that we have been given the opportunity to present the world premiere performance of our musical tribute on the Cherry Theater stage,” said Johnson. “We believe that by using the voices of Sam Watkins and James Landon to tell the story of the Civil War and its music, it will bring the story to life. We believe it will touch those who attend in a profound way. It has certainly touched us as we have researched the material and have written the script and music.”
Newton, who portrays Watkins, has won numerous awards as a member of the Nashville songwriting community and has written numerous hit songs, including Kenny Rogers’ Twenty Years Ago;The Oak Ridge Boys’ Bobbie Sue; Razzy Bailey’s Midnight Hauler; Steve Wariner’s What I Didn’t Do; and David Ball’s Riding With Private Malone.
Newton, along with Johnson, who portrays Landon, the show features a cast of several professional musicians from Nashville, as well as narrators and readers from the faculty and staff of Columbia State. The show also features renowned Civil War re-enactor, Bill Glidden.
Musicians include Jim Sales, who wrote the country music hit parody, She Thinks I Steal Cars; Natalie Murphy, a rising Nashville singer, songwriter and musician; Odessa Settles, a well-known Civil War-era musical performer; and Alan O’Bryant, a member of the Grammy Award-winning group, The Nashville Bluegrass Band.
Along with Glidden, other narrators and readers include Hoyt Gardner, assistant professor of history; Stuart Lenig, professor of communications and drama; and Anne Reeves, director of learning support. The program will be presented by the Socratic Discussion Group of Columbia State.
Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee’s first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the sixth largest higher education system in the nation. For more information, please visit www.columbiastate.edu.
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