George Washington & His Spies Musical Presentation
Time & Location
About the Event
Join Anne Enslow and Ridley Enslow for a lively, 60-minute musical presentation outdoors at the Campbell-Christie House, an 18th century Jersey-Sandstone house, originally home to 4 brothers in the Bergen Militia. Event is by reservation. Bring your own lawn chairs, blankets (and masks).
This fundraiser, called “Washington and His Spies,” is about espionage during the American Revolution. Dead drops. Invisible inks. Secret codes. Moles and double agents. Incredible courage and outright betrayal. They were all part of spycraft during the Revolutionary War, and this show has it all—with songs to go along. Nathan Hale was the first spy to be commemorated in song after his death—by no less than Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. On the other side, the British Major John Andre, who collaborated with Benedict Arnold, became the subject of multiple sympathetic ballads after his execution—you’ll even hear a sample of music and poetry he wrote himself.
Anne introduces each musical piece with a narration that puts each song in context, and she spins tales of intrigue and deception drawn right from the pages of history. Thanks to the cable TV series Turn: Washington's Spies, many people know about the Culper spy ring. But there are many more stories to tell, and they’re full of surprises. James Rivington, the king’s royal printer in New York City, was seemingly the most loyal of Loyalists, willing to print any type of outlandish lie to bolster the British cause—yet he provided a key piece of information to Washington when it counted the most. And then there was the British General Cornwallis’s servant, who turned out to be spying on Cornwallis at the direction of the Marquis de Lafayette. The tales go on…
For this presentation Anne Enslow will play the hammered dulcimer, a colonial instrument with 100 strings, struck with little wooden hammers. Ridley Enslow will play a violin, in this case a violin built in France in 1776. They both sing.
Ridley began playing colonial American music more than 40 years ago while working at Morristown National Historical Park in New Jersey. He has made five albums with the noted balladeer Linda Russell and six with Anne. In addition, he had a stint as a Bluegrass fiddler and is now retired from his job as president of Enslow Publishers, Inc. which continues to publish educational books for children and teenagers.
Anne began playing colonial music when she met Ridley. She played as a regular substitute on Broadway in the orchestra of The Secret Garden and sang for many years with the St. Cecilia Chorus at Carnegie Hall. A veteran correspondent for Newsweek magazine, she is currently executive editor of Harvard Health Publishing’s special health reports. Anne does most of the duo’s research, which has included mining the archives of the Library of Congress, Colonial Williamsburg, the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, and historical societies up and down the east coast.
The duo has played at historic sites from Saratoga Springs and Albany to New York City, Philadelphia, New Haven, and Annapolis. They have played many times in Tappan, NY, where Major Andre was imprisoned before being hanged. They have performed at Fraunces Tavern, where George Washington bade farewell to his officers at the end of the war. They have entertained at the Schuyler House in upstate New York (home of General Philip Schuyler, for all you Hamilton fans). But they have performed most extensively throughout New Jersey, the state known as the Crossroads of the American Revolution.
We hope you will join us for this very special event!
Bergen County Historical Society, 1201 Main Street, River Edge, NJ.
By reservation. Public - $20, BCHS Members - $15. Become a member and support American history! Members are free or reduced to events.
- Public$20+$0.50 Service fee$20+$0.50 Service fee0$0
- BCHS Member$15+$0.38 Service fee$15+$0.38 Service fee0$0
- BCHS Supporter!$100+$2.50 Service fee$100+$2.50 Service fee0$0