School Programs

SCHOOL-130513-NL-Gr4-5-WetplateWe love to visit schools & libraries to share this music with audiences of all ages! To set up a residency at your school:

  1. Check our CALENDAR page for available dates.
  2. See FORMAT and CONTENT options below…
  3. Check for any GRANTS AVAILABLE
  4. Email us to start the planning process!

Here are some options to consider in setting up a school visit:


The Hardtacks ~ (c)2014 DwightSipler w=800

{TIME: 45-75 minutes}
{#: 20-200 students}

About (FULL TEXT):

The Hardtacks lead a lively singalong survey of music from before, during, and after the Civil War.  Illustrated by songsheets, photographs, and visual arts of the period, this responsive performance explores the role of music and lyrics in both expressing and forming opinions on all sides of the conflict, as well as what these songs can teach us today.  Volunteers from the audience will have a chance to play along on bones, jawbones, tamborines, and other 19th century percussion instruments.


The Hardtacks lead a lively singalong survey of music from before, during, and after the Civil War, illustrated by songsheets, photographs, and visual arts of the period.


  • Suitable performance space & chairs
  • digital projector
  • projection surface (wall or screen)
  • photocopies of songsheets (optional)


Smaller group performance, with special attention to musical terms & practice.  Includes opportunities to:

  • play select instruments
  • engage in discussions & explorations of topics & materials
  • rehearse specific songs in preparation for concert performance, etc.

{TIME: 30-60 minutes}
{#: 12-40 students}


Working closely with 1-2 classes at a time, The Hardtacks introduce & elaborate specific songs, styles, and topics (determined by essential questions, class study, curricular focus, student interest, &c.).  Specific students may have the opportunity to play the instruments, and the group selects 1-2 songs prepare and record or present to an audience.


  • Advance email coordination (materials for students = source texts, audio / topics & music selected according to host curriculum)
  • Classroom or meeting space
  • projector or photocopied handouts



1+ full days of residency w/ flexible format, usually including:

  1. introductory morning concert
  2. followed by small-group workshops where students prepare musical parts & scripted roles for a…
  3. culminating group performance

{TIME: 1-3 school days / 1-2 concerts (20-45 minutes) / 1 workshop per class (30-60 minutes)}
{# of students depends on grade levels, structure}


  • (AS ABOVE)
  • Projector on cart (if moving between classrooms)
  • photocopied songsheets
  • Other related projects (as prepared by students in course of study)




See our BOOKING page for listings of available programs.  Note that all our programs are readily adaptable to fit your curricular needs.  (We especially enjoy including local historical content in our programs.)

Here are some other content focus areas we use:

  • Year-by-year overview:
    A survey of the events, people, and voices of the Civil War era, through a selection of songs from the antebellum period/1860/1861/1862/etc. …
  • Regions & Voices:
    A musical inspection of how geography and culture shape politics, music, and world view.
  • Slavery, Race, & Land:
    How did people express in music their complex attitudes towards THE defining issues of the era?  How does this musical culture reflect changes and developments in public perceptions and beliefs over the course of the war?
  • Musical Migrations:
    What do the folk musics of the Civil War tell us about population migrations and social upheaval before, during, and after the 1860s?  How did musical cultures meet and mix during the war?
  • Specific Years and/or events:
    We can also look more deeply into specific time periods, places, or events from the Civil War, seeing events through the eyes of participants by unpacking the rich lyrics & melodies of the songs they sang and played at the time.


What standards (curricular frameworks or otherwise) do you want to address?  For specific examples, see our STANDARDS page…