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Sleepy Creek Concert series starts Sunday

Contributing writer

Jonathon and Betsey Goering dress in period clothing, perform on historically accurate stringed instruments, and entertain all over the state with music of the Civil War.

They will launch the Sleepy Creek Concert series at 7 p.m. Sunday in Santa Fe Park.

Their instruments consist of a late 19th Century fiddle, a reproduction fretless skin-head gut-string banjo, guitar, bones, and tambourine. They call themselves the Muddy Water Melodists. The bones are made of both wood and bone.

“Both Goerings are Civil War reenactors,” Peabody Main Street director Shane Marler said. “They have spent hours studying original sheet music and learning the techniques that made this music unique.”

According to the Goerings, the music they play is rich and diverse. It includes a full complement of Civil War songs — sentimental and patriotic songs, hymns, camp songs, Irish and Scottish pieces, and moving ballads of love, war, and whiskey.

Betsey began playing the violin when she was three. Classically trained for 14 years, she switched to Civil War era music when she met Jonathon. She performs on a Stradivarius copy made in the late 19th century.

Jonathon plays a reproduction Joel Walker Sweeny banjo. He also plays a parlor guitar. He plays the fretless banjo “stroke style” — a method used by early minstrels that predates bluegrass style. Both also play the bones and tambourine.

“This will be a bit different than most of the concerts we have hosted,” Marler said. “But that is part of the fun of the concert series. We get different kinds of musical talent performing live in downtown Peabody.”

Because of the heat, the concert will start at 7 p.m., a little later than usual. A light meal will be available for a donation, which will cover the cost of the food and the performers for the evening.

The next concert, on July 31, also will begin at 7 p.m.

“We are excited to bring homegrown talent to the community stage in July,” Marler said. “We hope to showcase musicians, dancers, comedians, a magic act or two — whatever the performers want to perform.”

Peabody Main Street and Partners of Peabody Parks, the groups that sponsor the Sleepy Creek series, will be offering several prizes during the evening.

“We will be giving out Peabody Bucks prizes in a couple of categories,” Marler said. “We will have more information on that as we get closer to the performance date.”

To sign up to be part of the show, contact Marler at the Main Street Office, (620) 983-2113, or Susie Schmidt at (620) 983-2264 by July 20.

Last modified June 23, 2011

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