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Featuring Kathryn Mientka Farruggia, piano and Charles Farruggia, singer and actor

Here’s a little-known quote from the Civil War: General Robert E. Lee, after listening to a band concert in camp, said “I don’t see how we could have any army without music.” Kathryn Mientka Farruggia and husband Charles are presenting a very unusual show they call a “drama concert.”  Charles is an experienced actor, and has written the script himself. The couple toured Colorado last year with the show, to great success.  “This drama concert is unique, in that it combines a play with music and virtuoso piano solos in a way that has never been done before. It has universal appeal and it has been a very moving experience for our audiences.”

Kathryn and Charles hope to connect the audience with the past by expressing through their performance the virtues of love, honor, and duty that still are important to all of us today.

Charles has always had a passion for the Civil War. “I’ve long reflected on what makes men and women give up so much for something, they believe, is greater than themselves,” Charles says thoughtfully.  “We are living in a time when our country must re-define itself.  Looking into the past reminds us of who we are as a nation. Our drama concert “Home Sweet Home” brings to life the idea that we all have a part to play in the preservation of freedom to all men and women.”  

Through music, a passion he shares with his wife, Kathryn, he brings to life the early 1860s and expresses the timeless values that remain within all of us 160 years later.

Kathryn, a well-known virtuoso pianist, believes in the power of music as a “voice” of the divine dwelling in all of us. Her life-long dedication to her gift is inspiring. In the program she brings to life the profound, beautiful sentiments of a simpler time.

What inspires Kathryn in this program? “I am delighted to be able to feature the music of a great American composer and Union patriot, L.M. Gottschalk. Gottschalk was America’s most famous pianist at the time of the Civil War. He had studied and performed in Paris and had the admiration of such luminaries as Chopin and Berlioz. Gottschalk is one of the few American composers to write classical music based on American folk music at the time. Thirty years ago, with my late husband cellist Tyme Mientka, I performed a series of concerts in Europe based entirely on American music, including Gottschalk’s amazing piano solo, “The Union”. Gottschalk performed this piece over 400 times during the Civil War, often to troops, in order to raise money for the war effort. I will be performing “The Union” and also his wonderful arrangements of “Battle Cry of Freedom” and “Home Sweet Home” – a Civil war favorite that was eventually banned during the war, as the beauty of the song and the sentiment caused soldiers to desert. The power of music is amazing!”

As it’s musical base, the program features ten songs that were extremely popular during the Civil War, so much so that it is almost impossible to hear them without thinking of that war. “Dixie” was the unofficial national anthem of the Confederacy, and, oddly, was also a favorite song of President Lincoln, who would anger his cabinet by whistling the tune during meetings. “Tenting on the old campground” was a Civil War lament. “Faded Coat of Blue”, “Bonnie Blue Flag”, “Johnny comes marching home” and of course the great “Battle Hymn of the Republic” are all standards that arose from that time period. Spirituals such as “Deep River” reflect the deep longings of the soon-to-be-freed slaves.

Both Charles and Kathryn have found this program to be suitable for people of all ages and musical tastes. “This music is timeless, and has been beloved for over 160 years. Every song on this program is familiar to most Americans. It is a part of our great musical heritage that is truly American. The drama facet of the performance brings audiences into the feelings and experiences of the soldiers on both sides of the war. Little-known facts of the Civil War will fascinate even knowledgeable historians. Children have no problem connecting to the songs and the action onstage. We would love for people to share this time with us and remember those valiant souls who purchased at great cost our freedom.”