The Monroe County Historical Society will host a performance of Clark Hansbarger’s multimedia Civil War show Dream of a Good Death at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Apr. 2, at the Ames Clair Hall in Union. Admission to the evening is $10, students $6. Tickets available at the door, seating begins at 6:30.
Songwriter and Monroe County native Clark Hansbarger’s Dream of a Good Death traces the arc of the Civil War from its beginning to its end. Part folk opera, part multi-media lecture, this cycle of original songs follows the trials, hopes, fears and sacrifices of Civil War soldiers as they struggle through the Union conquest of Port Royal, the fires in The Wilderness, the killing fields of Cold Harbor, and the long siege of Petersburg.
Each song is introduced with stories and historical photographs, enriching the audience’s appreciation of the songwriting and providing an historical thread. The human tragedy and costs of war are experienced in a new way through the deeply personal lens of each song’s protagonist.
Dream of a Good Death has been performed throughout Virginia to large audiences, receiving good reviews from a variety of notable sources. Historian and author Howard Means describes Dream of a Good Death as “one of the most imaginative approaches to the Civil War I’ve ever witnessed. In short, terrific entertainment – the rare evening that leaves you better informed and fully satisfied.”
A graduate of Union High School, Hansbarger is a recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts and A PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. His work has been featured on National Public Radio’s The Sound of Writing and in magazines such as Shenandoah, Witness, Web del Sol, and The Cettvsburg Review.
Hansbarger will be joined on Apr. 2 by his daughter Kara on vocals and his band The Bitter Liberals. The Bitter Liberals’ two records “13” and “Again” have together received six Wammie nominations from the Washington Area Music Association, including Best Group and Best Recording in the Folk-Contemporary category, Best New Artist and Best Debut Recording. The band performs regularly to large audiences at venues including The American Theater in Hampton, VA, Winchester, VA’s Bright Box, and Shepherdstown’s famous Old Opera House.