Rick Spencer Sings the Hits of the ’60s (that is, the 1860s)

I’ m certain that you have sung a song by Connecticut-born composer Henry Clay Work, as it was he who wrote the song, “My Grandfather’s Clock,” in 1876. Work is just one of several professional composers who got their “big start” during the years of the Civil War.

On Wednesday evening 20 July, bring your lawn chairs and join us in the garden of the Shaw Mansion as Rick Spencer presents a program on the “Greatest Hits of the Civil War: America’s Earliest Professional Songwriters.” The garden gates will open at 6:30 pm and the show will start at 7:00, (we’re expecting a lovely evening). Members will be asked to make a donation, for others, the concert will cost $5. (We are also calling it the “Eve of Destruction” concert, as 21 July marks the 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Bull Run.)

Rick was a long-time member of the staff of Mystic Seaport working as a chanteyman and as a member of the quartet, Mystic Seaport’s Forebitter. More recently he was site administrator at the Hempsted Houses and now serves as the executive director of the Dr. Ashbell Woodward House museum of the Franklin Historical Society. In addition to being a recognized expert on the songs of the sailor, Rick has now done extensive research on popular music of 19th century America, creating programs such as, “Freemen for Fremont,” and this presentation on composers Stephen Foster, Daniel Decatur Emmett, and George F. Root in addition to Henry Clay Work.

The performance will include many of their songs, and Rick will share insights on how this music reflected the American character of the day.