Paul Emery Presents
Nevada City Live

Maggie McKaig

Maggie McKaig
Cumberland Suite


Friday, October 18, 8:00PM
Tickets $20

Buy Tickets

Tickets at: The BriarPatch Co-op – 530-272-5333
Yabobo – 530-270-9114
TICKETS BY PHONE AT: 800-838-3006
The Nevada Theater
401 Broad Street, Nevada City

On Friday, October 18th, at the Nevada Theatre, Paul Emery and Nevada City will be presenting Maggie McKaig's Cumberland Suite.  Inspired by a journal written by her great-great-great grandmother, Priscilla Beall McKaig, Cumberland Suite is an American story, a personal history of the Civil War and its aftermath, told through song, music, and spoken word.  Accompanying musicians include Luke Wilson, Murray Campbell, Margot Duxler, and Perry Stauffer.  Actors helping tell the story include Maggie's sister, Susan McKaig and her brother-n-law, David Fitts from Kentucky. In 2009, Maggie, hosted by the Allegany County Arts Council in Cumberland, Maryland, presented the Cumberland Suite as a work in progress.  The work was extremely well received.  Armed with a notion of what Cumberland Suite could become, Maggie, through years of diligent research and what she can only describe as vision quests, set about making that vision happen.  

Here is what is what she writes about the story--in a good-sized nutshell.

The Cumberland Suite Synopsis

Most unfortunately, in the spring of 1870, Myra Black, then 28, gave birth to a baby boy in Cumberland, Maryland, whose resemblance to my great-great grandfather, William Wallace McKaig Jr (we call him Willie, a Civil War Confederate officer) was by all accounts, notable. Willie, 29 years of age, and from a well-to-do family, was married.  Not to Myra, however. The birth of Myra's baby was, to say the least, a major scandal in Cumberland, if not all Maryland. Myra's brother, Harry Crawford Black, 24, also a Confederate Army veteran, armed himself with two pistols and confronted Willie early one morning in downtown Cumberland and killed him.  At the subsequent murder trial, Black was acquitted of the crime on the grounds that he had justifiably defended his family's honor. 

Willie's mother, my great-great-great grandmother, Priscilla Beall McKaig, kept a journal before, during and after the Civil War. Understandably, perhaps, Priscilla mentions none of the above events in her journal.  As to Myra and her child, after the trial they disappeared from public record.  Ever since I read those very words, written by an Allegany County historian, "...disappeared from public record," Myra's fate has haunted me. So, I decided to search for her. Over the past thirty years, I've read thousands of passport and passenger lists, birth, death, and marriage certificates, census reports, newspaper articles, hundreds of gravestones, spent time in Cumberland and Gettysburg, and have had the most fascinating on-going correspondence with the famed host of the PBS series "Finding Your Roots," Henry Louis "Skip" Gates Jr.-- who may or may not be my cousin.

This search, which has been both mundane and at times marvelously mystical, inspired me to write a cycle of songs.  

It's called the "Cumberland Suite"

Click HERE to stream "The Road to Baltimore" from "Cumberland Suite".

 

 

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