Arts & Entertainment

Somerville: Balladeer Performs Historic Christmas Music at Wallace House

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Balladeer Linda Russell will perform at the Wallace House in Somerville Jan.. 6.
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Wallace House, Somerville.
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SOMERVILLE, NJ - Balladeer Linda Russell will perform historic holiday music at the Old Dutch Parsonage historic site Jan. 6 beginning at 7:30 p.m.  

For most American colonists, Christmas Day was not a major holiday. But over the course of the following twelve days, leading up to Twelfth Night on Jan. 6, there were great feasts, church services, dances, games and other entertainment.

Russell will explore the tunes and traditions of the Twelve Days of Christmas, playing the hammered and mountain dulcimers, penny whistle and guitar. She will sing and play the carols, dance tunes and drinking songs of the past, interspersed with Yuletide poems, recipes and stories of the season.

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Russell has served for many years as musical historian for the national park Service at Federal Hall National Memorial and has performed at historic sites throughout New York and New Jersey.

All visitors must register for this program in advance. Call 908-725-1015 or email whouse3@verizon.net to register. Seating is limited. Admission is $10. 

The Wallace House, built in 1776, served as George Washington’s winter headquarters during the Middlebrook Cantonment of 1778-1779. The house was the country residence of retired Philadelphia merchant John Wallace; Washington rented the use of half the house for himself and his staff and paid Wallace $1,000 for the use of his house and furniture. During his stay, the General hosted foreign dignitaries and planned strategies for the spring military campaign. The house is fully restored and furnished with period furniture.

The Old Dutch Parsonage was constructed in 1751, by the congregations of three local Dutch Reform Churches. The house was occupied by the Reverend John Frelinghuysen and his family until his death in 1754. His successor, the Reverend Jacob Hardenbergh was the principal founder and first president of Queens College in New Brunswick, now Rutgers University. 

Both sites are administered by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, and are open to visitors Wednesday through Sunday. The Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage are both listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. 

The parking lot entrance and interpretive center for the sites is located at 71 Somerset St. For directions and more information about the sites, visit www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/historic/olddutch-wallace/odwh-wallacehouse.htm.

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