Labor Day Concert to Commemorate Labors of our Nation During the Civil War

Privates by Choice

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News Release Date: August 13, 2013

Contact: Carol Borneman, (606) 248-2817

"Privates By Choice" to Perform at Cumberland Gap

The origin of Labor Day may rarely be thought of as much more than a welcome respite for the working masses. Likewise, our personal celebrations on Labor Day probably do not reflect the effect work has had upon our whole history as a nation.

On Saturday, August 31st, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park will host the band “Privates by Choice” as they perform original musical scores that will highlight the labors of our nation during the Civil War. To commemorate the 150thanniversary of the war, the group will perform a unique selection of newly composed acoustic/folk songs during this free concert at the Wilderness Road Campground Amphitheater.

Instruments featured will be guitar, mandolin, violin, hammered dulcimer, cello, mountain dulcimer, bass and some light percussion in various combinations. Within the crying of the violin and the steady drumbeat of the dulcimer, one will be able to hear the groans of soldiers as they scuffled up these mountains.  

Ranger Pam Eddy shares “The song entitled ‘Biscuits of Manassas’ literally sends a shiver down my spine every time I listen to it! I was excited to hear the tune recently played on the radio and am thrilled to invite everyone from the region to see this fabulous group in person over Labor Day weekend!”  The ensemble's writers and musicians all have Kentucky roots, except for one Missouri boy. The band members are well-seasoned musicians with credits and recordings gracing many public radio station programs.

The concert will offer an interesting opportunity for reflection on the connections between Labor Day and the Civil War. In the 19thcentury, our nation was experiencing an age of tremendous growth. However, a great fundamental economic difference was emerging between the country’s northern and southern regions. In the north, labor focused essentially around manufacturing and industry and small scale farms. For the south, the bulk of the economy rested upon a system of large-scale farming dependent on slave labor to grow major crops such as cotton and tobacco.

Among other things, these fundamental differences in the types of labor performed in separate regions of America would eventually lead to Civil War. Likewise, the preservation of the nation would rest upon the efforts of American men, women and children during the war. Our nation owes our very existence to work - as Americans have toiled in sweat and persevered in earnest to sustain America’s liberty and unification throughout the years.

The Wilderness Road Campground is located in Virginia, two miles east of the Hwy 25E and Hwy 58 intersection. Visitors should proceed to the amphitheater, located at the end of loop C where parking is available. In case of rain, the program will be held at the national park visitor center, located on Hwy 25E, just south of Middlesboro, KY.  This program is being co-hosted by the Friends of Cumberland Gap and park partner Eastern National.  

For more information about Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, please call (606) 248-2817 or visit For more info on the Friends of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and how to become involved, please visit or find them on Facebook at Learn how Eastern National supports the interpretive and educational mission of the National Park Service by visiting   

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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91 Bartlett Park Road
Middlesboro, KY 40965


(606) 248-2817

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