Second Annual Portsmouth Peace Treaty Commemorative Concert,
“Peace & The Presidency:
Music for George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt”
On May 17, 2008, the Seacoast Wind Ensemble presented the Second Annual Portsmouth Peace Treaty Commemorative Concert, “Peace & The Presidency: Music for George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt” at The Music Hall in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This program of wide-ranging music for the Election Year featured Aaron Copland's "A Lincoln Portrait" with guest narrator, Rev. Robert H. Thompson, Chaplain of Phillips Exeter Academy. The annual program by the Seacoast Wind Ensemble (www. SeacoastWindEnsemble.org) was organized and conducted by Music Director Richard C. Spicer and sponsored by the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum, supported by the Japan-America Society of NH.
Discussing the program planned for the concert, Richard Spicer, Music Director for the Seacoast Wind Ensemble and music historian said, “In addition to ‘Lincoln Portrait,’ we will also be playing an unusual and seldom-heard arrangement of pieces played from band books from New Hampshire bands stationed in South Carolina at Hilton Head, during the campaign against Fort Sumter. The band books used by the later and somewhat related brigade band (from which the arrangement we will play was made) are in the Library of Congress, the NH Historical Society in Concord, and the NH Antiquarian Society in Hopkinton. They are national treasures, now sought after and cited repeatedly by groups trying to recreate this music and this history. Only a few other such resources remain in the country.”
The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum was created in 1994 to study and commemorate the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and to explore diplomatic themes “in the spirit of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty.” In 1905, diplomats from Russia and Japan met in Portsmouth, as President Roosevelt’s guests, to negotiate an end to the Russo-Japanese War The Portsmouth Peace Treaty is an important piece of history as the foundation for Theodore Roosevelt’s Nobel Peace Prize and as an early demonstration that the ordinary American citizen can make a difference. This annual commemorative concert helps trace that story from a musical perspective.