Gordon in the News: last updated 07/18/2011

History Professor Performs at The Smithsonian Institute As Part of 150th Civil War Commemoration

May 30, 2011

Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA—Assistant professor of history David Goss doesn’t just teach American history. He sings it. In fact, Goss and his Civil War band—known as the 2nd South Carolina String Band—were recently asked to play their period music at the ultimate venue for history lovers, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., as part of a four-day commemoration that featured documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.

Goss and his fellow musicians performed Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in the same room where Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address, in what is now the National Portrait Gallery. Goss plays guitar and is the lead singer of the band, which performed over 25 songs from the era with period instruments. Burns, who directed the PBS television series on the Civil War, was the keynote speaker. Some 300 audience members attended the event at the Smithsonian. Many similar events are scheduled across the country to mark the War’s 150th anniversary.

The purpose of the 2nd South Carolina Band is to perform “Civil War music as authentically as possible,” said Goss, a resident of Beverly who is also the director of Museum Studies and scholar-in-residence at Gordon’s Institute for Public History in Salem.

The band has recorded several albums that allow listeners to hear the music of the 19th century played on 19th-century period instruments as it would have sounded to the soldiers of the Civil War. Their music includes a banjo, fiddle, guitar and other instruments, and is also featured on the soundtrack for the History Channel’s television series Lee and Grant, which began airing May 31.

“Playing (at the Smithsonian) underscores the reality that this era in American history is becoming more popular within the culture, not just the academic community,” Goss said. “And it shows why the Civil War was so important on so many levels. Everything in our country changed from that point on: from states’ rights and race relations to the influence the federal government would have on states and how they would operate from then on. It really was a pivotal time for our country.”

Because the summer marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Goss and the 2nd South Carolina Band will also play at Gettysburg, Manassas Bull Run and several other reenactments or commemorations. For more information on the 2nd South Carolina Band, visit their website. Learn more about Gordon’s Institute for Public History here.


Gordon College is a multidenominational Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston’s North Shore, offering majors in 38 fields with graduate programs in education and music education. Gordon is nationally recognized for excellence in academics and in character building, and ranks as one of the nation’s top Christian colleges. www.gordon.edu