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Colonial music to be featured at Lancaster Court Day

From left are Dick Hogle, Francis Lindop and Beth Lawton of the group “Ampersand.” (Photo courtesy of Mary Ball Washington Museum and Library)

As part of the Lancaster Court Day Festival presented by the Mary Ball Washington Museum and Library (MBWML) on Saturday, April 12, the professional music group “Ampersand” will perform songs of the colonial and early American eras from 11 a.m.-noon and from 1-2 p.m. Each one-hour concert takes place outdoors on the museum grounds at 8346 Mary Ball Road in Lancaster Court House.

Attendees should bring lawn chairs or blankets. Food concessions will be available or picnics are welcome. Pets are not permitted. Admission is free and other festival activities, including arts and crafts vendors, children’s old-fashioned games, history exhibits and museum tours, will be ongoing from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Ampersand describes itself as “a group of musicians who combine its love of music with a fascination with history, focusing on music that everyday people would have heard, sung and played, and exploring how traditional folk tunes weave through the centuries and decades.”

Ampersand’s core members, Beth Lawton and Dick Hogle of Denton, Maryland, have collegiate backgrounds in history and American culture studies and more than 20 years of musical experience. Joined by Lawton’s son and fellow musician, Topher Lawton, at the Court Day performances, they will present a variety of traditional songs with roots in colonial and early America, featuring vocal harmonies and folk instruments such as guitar, hammered dulcimer, banjo and mandolin.

Lawton said, “We also explain the history of the songs, where and how music fit into the lives of early Americans, and how songs, tunes and instruments have evolved over time. We find great joy in bringing this music to modern ears. Listeners are encouraged to ask questions, explore areas of particular interest, and join in on sing-alongs.”

Ampersand performs at numerous national, state, and local parks and historic sites on the east coast from Virginia to New York. This will be their third visit to Lancaster County.

MBWML executive director Karen Hart said, “We hosted Ampersand in 2012 and 2013 for concerts of Civil War music and had great audience response. Ampersand provides quality music that is entertaining as well as educational for all ages. We are very excited to bring the group back in a new way in the Court Day setting and with a different program of colonial and early American songs.”

The event is sponsored by the MBWML with support from a grant from Rappahannock Foundation for the Arts. For more information, contact 804-462-7280 or

posted 03.26.2014

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