Public Program: “In Vogue with the Vulgar: Music during the War of 1812”

David Hildebrand in a previous performance at AAS in the Goddard-Daniels House.

If you thought you’d learned all you needed to know about the War of 1812 from Alan Taylor’s lecture “The Civil War of 1812” last week, you would be missing out on a wonderful night of music and stories.

Tomorrow night, October 16 at 7 p.m., David Hildebrand will be performing a concert, in costume and on period instruments, of music that was popular during the war, two hundred years ago. It was heard in homes, on the streets, and in taverns and theaters, and covered a wide range of topics, from the early stirrings of party politics under President Adams, to the traumatic effect of Jefferson’s Embargo in 1807, through the triumph at Fort McHenry and the last battle in New Orleans in 1814.  And of course, no concert of music from the War of 1812 would be complete without a telling of the true origin of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Another highlight of this program will be pieces performed from AAS’s Isaiah Thomas broadside ballad collection, which provides a fascinating window on the culture of Boston around the time of the War of 1812. In 1813, the year after he founded the Society, Thomas purchased examples of broadsides recently produced by Boston printer Nathaniel Coverly. After returning to Worcester, Thomas had almost 300 of them bound in three volumes and put in AAS’s collections. When Isaiah Thomas presented his collection to the Society, he wrote that he had the broadsides “bound up for Preservation – to show what articles of this kind are in vogue with the vulgar at this time, 1814” – hence, the title of this program.

As our only musical program this fall, and one full of bicentennial histories, you won’t want to miss this concert!

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