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Costumed couple to perform concert of Civil War songs

Two prominent vocalists dressed in period costumes will perform songs of the Civil War on Sunday, Sept. 9, in Flushing’s Weeping Beech Park, complementing a nearby exhibit on the role of Queens African-Americans in the war.

“We are delighted to offer to the people of Queens this free concert of Civil War era songs,” said Mitchell Grubler, Queens Historical Society Executive Director.

Grubler said the concert comes at a time when the African-American exhibition is going on at Kingsland Homestead adjacent to Weeping Beech Park.

Bob and Eva Lazar Gabriel and friends will perform songs, guitar numbers and sing-alongs of the music from the Civil War, including Stephen Foster’s “We Are Coming, Father Abraham” and a march, “Battle Cry of Freedom.”

“We are also going to perform a Civil War love song called ‘Wait, Love, Until the War is Over,’” said Eva Gabriel.

“We have a great library of historical music, including the Civil War and the Revolutionary War and those of other eras. I love America and its history,” said Mrs. Gabriel, who was born in Hungary.

“During one of our numbers, my husband will recite President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address,” Gabriel said.

“Then we will have a brief address by a good friend, Richard Dickenson, on the role of African-Americans in the Civil War.” Dickenson is borough historian of Staten Island.

The Gabriels have performed at historical sites and other such places for more than a decade. Eva Gabriel, a soprano, has been a featured soloist in Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center and is also a voice teacher. She has performed at Flushing Town Hall and the New Jersey Garden State Arts Center.

Bob Gabriel, a bass-baritone, is also an actor with extensive experience in theater, television voice-overs and print advertising. Guitarist Ed Brown has been on the faculty of Wagner College for more than 20 years and is founder and director of the Wagner College Guitar and Lute Ensemble. Accompanying the Gabriels on guitar will be Joe Cogan and Annmarie Lambiasi.

At Kingsland Homestead next to Weeping Beech Park, an exhibit which runs through March 3, portrays the Civil War role of African-Americans, nearly 300 of whom were from what is now Queens and parts of Long Island.

“The exhibit includes a rifle, a sword, uniforms and other artifacts from the Civil War era,” Grubler said.

As many as 285,000 blacks, including freed slaves, served in the Union Army in the Civil War.

Those attending the concert are asked to bring lawn chairs. In case of rain, the concert is to moved indoors to Kingsland Homestead.

Free off-street parking will be available at Roosevelt Avenue and Parsons Boulevard in Temple Gates of Prayer lot.

Kingsland Homestead and Weeping Beech Park, 143-35 37th Ave., Flushing. For more information, call 939-0647.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

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