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A little help from some friends

Concert of Civil War-era tunes to benefit flood victims

— When Paula Shafer couldn’t physically get to Schoharie County to help with the clean up efforts after Hurricane Irene devastated the area last August, she decided to call on some friends.

A Civil War re-enactor and musical historian, the former teacher called on her friends in several local Civil War music groups to put on a series of concerts to benefit the flooding victims of Schoharie County. Two previous concerts have raised more than $1,000 and a third concert is about to be held at the Bethlehem Community Church in Delmar.

“It’s a community that’s neighboring us,” Shafer said. “We were really unaffected and we felt like we needed to help in some way.”

The four bands, Uncle Billy’s Balladeers, Iron Jacks, the 77th New York Regimental Balladeers and Rural Felicity have been playing together for years. They have once again joined forces for the benefit and to celebrate this year’s sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

The 77th New York Regimental Balladeers are from Windham, and have been together for 17 years with more than 350 performances under their collective belts. Dedicated to preserving the songs of the Antebellum and Civil War periods, the group uses original music and lyrics to “convey, emote and capture” the speech, beliefs, spirituality and patriotism of America’s ancestors. They have won several awards, and the group’s “Rally Round the Flag” CD project helped raise funds to preserve New York’s Civil War Battle Flags.

Iron Jacks is a Civil War Naval impression group affiliated with the U.S. Naval Landing Party, who “focus of everyday life aboard a ship or on land” with their vocals and instrumentals. Band leader Dave Dzeiwulski of Troy said in a statement, the group provides a “rough-and-tumble form of music about the sea, women, grog, misfortune and going home.”

For some, performing in the benefit is very personal.

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