Monday, January 05, 2009
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1860s ball on Lincoln's Birthday open to public

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[January 05, 2009]  SPRINGFIELD -- Antique instruments, 140-year-old music, Civil War-era fashions and the cutting of Abraham Lincoln's birthday cake will combine for what might be the best birthday celebration of the year. The Lincoln's Birthday 1860s Period Ball at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield is scheduled for Feb. 12, starting at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but advance reservations must be made by calling 217-558-8934.

CivicThe 25 musicians from the 10th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry Regiment Band from Springfield, under the direction of Capt. Todd Cranson, will provide the mid-1800s dance tunes for the occasion. They will use authentic musical instruments from the Civil War era to produce music as soldiers and civilians might have heard it long ago. The band's antique instruments are smaller and lighter than their modern brass counterparts, and they produce a distinctively different sound. Cranson will conduct with a baton used by the leader of the 2nd Iowa Cavalry Band that performed for President Lincoln.

"It's worthwhile to note that the music associated with the Civil War era, from ‘Dixie' to ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic,' was originally performed on these antique

instruments, so guests at the period ball will be able to hear these tunes as they were intended for public performances in the mid-1800s," said Marilyn Kushak, chairwoman of the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.


Dance mistress Deborah Hyland of St. Louis will teach the dance steps to those unfamiliar with the waltzes, reels, minuets and other dances of the era.

The band and a good number of participants will appear in full 1860s attire, including Civil War dress uniforms and hoop skirts. Authentic 19th-century attire, while encouraged, is not required for guests.

President and Mrs. Lincoln are expected to be among the dignitaries in attendance and will preside over the ceremonial cutting of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday cake. The special cake will be created for the occasion by The Eli's Cheesecake Co., Chicago. Punch, coffee and birthday cake will be served.

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Performances of the presidential museum's acclaimed show "Ghosts of the Library" will also be offered in AT&T Holavision Theater during the ball. The two exhibit journeys highlighting Lincoln's life will be open for tours as well.

The original 10th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry Regiment Band was formed in September 1861 at Camp Butler near Springfield and was mustered out of service in November 1865. It was common for regiments to have their own bands during the Civil War to keep pace for marching, boost morale and play for special events.

The period ball is sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission

The commission is working closely with numerous organizations, tourism agencies and institutions to organize events and programming for the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. The commission is also partnering with local communities on their bicentennial plans. Visit

[Text from Illinois Historic Preservation Agency file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]


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