Spencerport native in 'Lincoln' in concert next Sunday
05:00 AM, Oct 27, 2013
If you go
What: Civil War Band Concert.
When: 2:00 p.m. Sunday, November 3.
Where: Adams Basin United Methodist Church, 4292 Canal Road, Spencerport.
Cost: $10 suggested donation, with proceeds to the churchs repair and repainting fund.
During a recent phone call with his mother, Jeff Stockham learned that his beloved, boyhood church in Ogden had a list of badly needed repairs.
“My mother has gone to this church all of her life and they have done so much for her,” Stockham says of the historic Adams Basin United Methodist Church. “I decided to try to do something to help them.”
Stockham, a well-known Civil War musician who appeared as a member of the U.S. Marine Band in Steven Spielberg’s movie Lincoln, assembled his troops to help.
The Excelsior Cornet Band, which Stockham founded in 2001, will perform a benefit concert for the church next Sunday. All proceeds will go to the church’s repair and repainting fund.
The band is New York state’s only authentic Civil War brass band and it is comprised of musicians from across the state. They play original Civil War music on authentic instruments of the 1860’s while wearing accurate uniforms.
“This is the real thing,” Stockham says. It “allows the audience to experience actual sounds they would have heard in the nineteenth century.”
Attendees of the concert at the Adams Basin United Methodist Church can expect to hear popular tunes from the period, like the Battle Hymn of the Republic, as well as lesser known pieces.
“Each tune will have a historic narration that puts it in context of the time, place and people,” said Stockham, who teaches jazz trumpet at Syracuse University, Hamilton College, Colgate University and LeMoyne College and is a freelance performer across central New York.
Ensembles like The Excelsior Cornet Band are rare in today’s day and age. Stockham estimates there are only about 15 to 20 Civil War brassbands in the country.
Stockham plays in five of them, including Baltimore’s Federal City Brass Band and President Lincoln’s Own Band, the replica U.S. Marine band of 1865 featured in Lincoln.
His interest in Civil War music came about by happenstance. He was a graduate student at the Eastman School of Music when he stumbled upon an antique cornet from the late 1800s or early 1900s. The instrument intrigued him and he began collecting others antique horns.
Several years later, he bought his first Civil War-area cornet and started playing it.
“It sounded so good and was so much fun I decided to put together a band,” Stockham says.
The rest, you could say, is history.