Abstract. In 1853 a group of senior citizens in the northeastern United States staged a musical revival, singing the sacred music of their youth in what was dubbed an “old folks’ concert.” While it dripped with yearning for an imagined past, the concert was also an embodied communal response to a host of contemporary social issues. An analysis of the performance, particularly how and why it turned into a craze and the preeminent musical face of the Colonial Revival, reveals much about the world of these old folks and the place of moribund music in the blossoming of a regional and national imaginary.

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