'Lincoln' returns to Bel Air Armory to discuss Civil War years

The Aegis
"Lincoln's Life & Legacy" returns to Bel Air on Saturday, April 18.

Sedition, kidnapping and assassination plots, hardly what you would associate with Harford County today, but 150 years ago these attributes describe the atmosphere in Harford quite well.

All of that will be brought to life Saturday, April 18, at 6 p.m. at the Bel Air Armory, 37 N. Main St., Bel Air for the second part of "Lincoln's Life & Legacy: In Stories and Music." The evening is presented by the Historical Society of Harford County, the Maryland Conservatory of Music and the Bel Air Arts & Entertainment District.

Back then, the citizenry was strongly divided. The county produced Maryland's Civil War governor, Augustus Bradford, a strong supporter of retaining the Union, as well as Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, a radical supporter of the Confederacy. This division was evident throughout the community as families were torn apart by differing allegiances.

As the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War approaches, the war's historic significance will be celebrated in a very unique venue of music, stories and exhibits showing how crucial and conflicting the war was locally and nationally.

This series opened last year with the first of a two-part program on "Lincoln's Life and Legacy." In addition to archival exhibits from the Historical Society of Harford County, Civil War re-enactors portraying President and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant greeted concert attendees and described their part in the conflict. Erika Quesenbery Sturgill, author and re-enactor, introduced attendees to her great-great-aunt, a Confederate sympathizer from Fallston and local photographer Dave Gigliotti provided visual backdrops to enhance the performances by storyteller Dr. Duke Thompson.

In the second part of the series, "Beyond Gettysburg," concert pianist Thompson will expand on Lincoln's journey through the war years, the final meeting of two great generals at Appomattox Court House and the tragic finale at Ford's Theater. The President's love of music and its role in carrying him through these years will once again lead the audience on this journey from Gettysburg as the tide of war changes. The evening will include a continuation of the fascinating story of Ms. Quesenbery's role in the war, as well as the music and stories by Thompson and exhibits of memorabilia from the Civil War.

The November concert was very well attended with numerous accolades and as one attendee noted, "I did not know what to expect, but found the program mesmerizing. It was a great evening."

Tickets are $25 each and available at the Historical Society, 143 N. Main St., Bel Air, MD 410-836-7691, www,harfordhistory.org. Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the performance. Proceeds go toward the restoration of the Historical Society's headquarters, the music conservatory's scholarship program and arts programs throughout the community.

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