Greater Cleveland Concert Band has been invited to participate in Washington, D.C., during the 150th Civil War anniversary commemoration in June 2013.
Their story centers around the happenings of the Civil War in Bradley County and how a community hoped to rebuild civil peace in a nation divided, according to Don Bindrim of GCCB.
“April 1865 — One Nation Under God” is the story set to music about Bradley County and Cleveland.
The community was somewhat divided by the Confederacy and Union but leaned more toward the Union side.
Bindrim and a group of local musicians are currently in the planning stages of the trip, which will encompass a short performance at Gettysburg National Military Park, then a full presentation at the Majestic Theater.
“The agency who is arranging this is working with the National Park Service. We will do the short performance, then [we’re] planning on the full performance later. They told me they were interested because our performance was the story of our town,” Bindrim said.
“The story is about the effort to find common ground and rebuild a broken nation after the end of the American Civil War, as told from the historical perspective of Cleveland and Bradley County, Tennessee. This is a program not about the victor and the vanquished, but about a nation coming together once again. A people finding common ground where war once defined differences, and compromise and cooperation are fired across lines instead of bullets and cannon balls. The story is told from the perspective of the Bradley County, Cleveland city community, who were themselves undecided about which side to defend and which to serve,” according to the script.
The script speaks of the Confederate Enclosure (Cleveland Citizens Cemetery or Fort Hill).
According to Bindrim’s research, 270 men were buried there and most were unknown Confederates.
H.P. Barrer was wounded where the Confederate Monument now stands at the intersection of North Ocoee, 8th Street and what was Lea Street, now named Broad Street.
Mrs. C.L. Hardwick Sr. took the Union soldier into her home and “cared for him like a mother would her own son,” according to Bindrim.
Bindrim said many Cleveland and Bradley residents don’t know the full story and irony of the monument being built there by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1911.
When Barrer died from his wounds, he was laid to rest in the Confederate grounds.
Bindrim’s thought is that was the divisive nature of the war turning into a “coming together” to help rebuild society.
“Here in Cleveland, our citizens endeavored to put the wounds of the past behind them while honoring heroes,” said Bindrim.
The Greater Cleveland Concert Band was formed because people who have played in school bands in the past want to continue playing. R.G. Wolf helped get the group going.
“We are your neighbors,” Bindrim said.
All ages comprise the band.
They are the storytellers through the music.
Members are expected to begin a fundraising effort soon to make the trip, according to Bindrim.
“We want to go represent Cleveland and its history,” he said.
The Civil War Sesquicentennial was launched in 2011 and will continue with events in Cleveland and other key Civil War locations containing history during the next four years.