Music and Dancing
Music played an important role during the Civil War. In addition to the Field Music that dictated life in camp and on the battlefield, minstrel-type music and brass bands provided entertainment and helped the soldiers pass the time. Members of the 3rd Texas enjoys sitting around the campfire and singing their favorites songs of home and patriotism. Here are a few of our favorites:
Most of our reenactment events include a period-correct dance known as a Ball. This is often a girl's favorite part of the weekend and is lots of fun for the guys too. A live band including the guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, spoons, and other period-correct instuments provide the music. "Callers" are usually on hand to give instruction and direct the dances. Don't worry if you don't know how to dance, yet. You'll learn soon enough. The links below will help and we have members of the 3rd who are good instructors. What's important is to have a good time. Some tips for the guys: 1. Don't be bashful about asking any girl to dance. They didn't get all prettied up just to stand there...they want to dance! It doesn't mean you're going to get engaged. It's just a dance. 2. Never dance with the same girl more than two dances in a row. That was consider to improper during the time. and 3. it is most proper for men to wear clean white gloves to the dance in order to avoid getting the girls pretty dresses dirty and to avoid your bare hand touching her bare hand. And finally, 4. Be a gentlemen by "requesting the honor of a dance" and always escort your lady off the dance floor to wherever she would like to go, then thank her for the honor.
During the Ball, you may expect to see some of the following dances. (links go to the Library of Congress Website). Don't worry, they are not as hard as they may look at first.
Grand March (also known as The March, Polonaise, Grand Promenade, Opening March)
Bow and Curtsy (Salutations)
Waltz (also known as the plain waltz or the waltz of three steps). To learn this one start out slow. Notice it is simply one big step and two little steps while tip-toeing and turning slightly.
Virginia Reel . This is a standard at all reenactments. First you will walk through it slowly without music, then when everyone is ready, the caller will remind you of each step. Listen as the steps are called during this video.