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Dearest Home’s Album Recreates Civil War Era Music and Traditional PA Songs from the Bayard Collection Dearest Home’s inaugural album delivers the rare experience of authenticity and originality in perfect harmony. It recreates traditional American music, especially from the US Civil War Era, with three songs from the unpublished Samuel Bayard Folk Song Collection, held at Penn State University Libraries, and a pair of tunes from Bayard’s Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife. Si Kahn, 2010 Folk Alliance Triple Crown winner (#1 Artist, #1 CD, #1 Song) writes: If ‘home is where the heart is,’ then the singers and musicians who together make up Dearest Home have clearly poured their hearts into their new self-titled album. Deeply steeped in the traditional music of Pennsylvania, my own home state, they have chosen wisely from their wide repertoire of Civil War songs, Appalachian ballads and fiddle tunes. Singing with passion, skill and the resonant matching of voices that seems born in the blood of next-of-kin, Dearest Home presents us with close harmony in many senses of the phrase, on stage and on CD. In their voices, you can hear the peaks and valleys of the landscape, feel the past and future marching together, and sense the shadows of the mountains. Like the band’s membership, Dearest Home’s music unites generations! It features rich vocals, fiddle, concertina, guitar, bass, piano, mountain dulcimer, pennywhistle, flugelhorn, jaw harp, bones and tambourine. Tailoring programs to each venue, Dearest Home is known for performing authentic Civil War Era music (in period costume), presenting songs and tunes from the Samuel Bayard Collection (PA and WV), playing a variety of Appala-chian music including selections from the Ritchie and Carter Families and other sources, or offering a mix of their varied styles. They delight in playing for dances too! Additionally, they perform related traditional music from Scot-land, Ireland and England. Donna Chestnut, chair of the Fine Arts Series at First Lutheran Church, Carlisle, com-ments: Our audience really enjoyed participating in the singing.… We applaud you for your attention to historical detail, your excellent mu-sicianship, and your interaction with the audience…. Your concert was a real gift to our church and the community. Dearest Home’s music is featured in an installation of Gettysburg’s new Seminary Ridge Museum (Civil War, “Faith and Freedom”). Since forming in 2011, Dearest Home has played and offered workshops for venues including; the Grand Opening of the Seminary Ridge Museum, Gettysburg 150th Civil War Events, Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering, Common Ground on Seminary Ridge, Songs and Stories of a Civil War Hospital, Heart of the Arts Festival, Appalachian Studies Association Conference, Music, Gettysburg!, Waterford Fair, St. Michael’s Soiree, Seminary Ridge Civil War Symposium, Gettysburg College Library, the Midtown Scholar, Hauser Estate Winery, The Occupation of Mechanicsburg/Skirmish at Sporting Hill, and other concert series in MD, NY, PA and VA. Visit them at www.reverbnation.com/dearesthome, and www.dearesthome.com, as well as on Facebook, to listen to music, view more information and sign up for updates. They are available for concerts, festivals historical events, reenact-ments, dances, workshops, weddings, conferences, libraries, schools, restaurants, retirement villages and other ven-ues. Their CD, Dearest Home, is available by mail through contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.cdbaby.com/cd/dearesthome.
Stephen Folkemer, who admits his all-time favorite birthday present is his Hayden Duet Concertina, also plays keyboards and contributes his pleasing bass voice and music-arranging support to the band. Since 1979, Stephen has served as the music director at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, where he is Pro-fessor of Church Music and Cantor. He is the organist and choir director at Christ Lutheran Church, Gettys-burg. He is founder and director of the Schola Cantorum of Gettysburg, and serves on the Music, Gettysburg executive committee. He has composed and published numerous choral and organ works, along with writing many commissioned works for national as well as local and regional organizations. With his wife Beth he has written Of the Land and Seasons: A Folk Song Setting for Holy Communion. Beth Folkemer plays a guitar custom-designed and built by Oriskany Stringed Instruments, Huntingdon, PA, www.oriskanyguitars.com. She brings a versatile alto voice plus music-arranging and mountain dulcimer skills to the ensemble. Her deep love of American, Scottish, Irish, and English folk music was the gift of her family of origin. She has been published in two hymnals. She is spearheading the band's research on the material from the Samuel Bayard Pennsylvania folk song collection. Beth’s professional background includes work with adults and children, as well as a wealth of experience interpreting historical texts. She is the music coordinator for Songs and Stories of a Civil War Hospital series at Christ Lutheran Church, Gettysburg, and has served as an assistant children's choir director. Chris Barnabei provides the foundation for Dearest Home, contributing acoustic bass in a style that is intuitive and lively, with impeccable tuning. Chris has played in bands and ensembles that span the musical spectrum, mainly in the Pittsburgh area. A technology coordinator /librarian in the Chambersburg school district, he resides in Gettysburg with his wife Tara.
Dearest Home Authenticity and Originality in Perfect Harmony Margaret Folkemer’s lilting soprano adds grace to her ballads and parlor songs, but she is capable of belting out driving songs as well. Along with her accomplishments as a vocalist, pennywhistle player and pianist, she has studied oboe and helps to arrange music for the band. A frequent soloist for the Music, Gettysburg! series, she sings also in Bel Voce (choir). Meg graduated from McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, Montreal, where she performed in the medieval music ensemble, was featured in Gilbert and Sullivan productions and sang with Cappella Antiqua and other choirs. She performed and was a stage manager for Opera McGill. She has been an assistant stage manager and a production manager for the Green Mountain Opera Festival, and a stage manager for Amherst Early Music Festival. She is a private voice instructor and choir director. Chuck Krepley’s two great passions are music and history. Once a professional Bluegrass banjo player, he took up the fiddle in the 1980s. Chuck spent many years studying Scottish fiddle music, winning a couple of fiddle contests along the way. He has studied and performed historical music covering every period from the French & Indian War of the 1750s through the end of the American Civil War in 1865. Chuck was the music director for French and Indian War documentary film, Washington’s First War: The Battles for Fort Du-quesne, by Paladin Communications. Chuck performs and records with his own Civil War band, Home Front, and enjoys guest appearances with several other Civil War bands. He also performs with Celtic band Across the Pond. Mr. Krepley, a former research chemist, recently completed an apprenticeship as a violinmaker in York, PA. His handmade fiddle, historic banjo, and pleasant baritone voice are essential ingredients to Dearest Home’s authentic sound.
Charles Thompson’s clear tenor voice conveys the depth of his ballads and hymns, he plays a mellow flugelhorn and soaring trumpet, and he’s the band’s heart-beat with various percussion instruments. You may also hear his trumpet adding just the right color to period music. Charles is frequent soloist for the Schola Cantorum, and a former choir director. A programmer/analyst at Shepherd University, he lives in Gettysburg with his wife Connie and stepson Colin.