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    Featured Music

  • Welcome Here Again

    Welcome Here Again

    Colonial Williamsburg's The Waterman Family have delighted audiences for years with their fun, engaging, and historically informed approach to the 18th Century's colorful and varied folk music with a wide variety of tunes and songs; all performed on historically appropriate instruments.

    The Waterman Family was born out of a passion to tell the story of how America went from listening and playing European music to finding this county's voice and sound. Nowhere else can one hear music that started in Europe, was heard here, and then passed along to the western part of the early American landscape. With Scotch, Irish, French, African, and English influences, The Waterman Family bring their musical styling using an array of colonial instruments and historically-informed performance techniques. So sing along, tap along, and even dance along with The Waterman Family!

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  • With Flute and Friends

    With Flute and Friends

    "Folk" music was enjoyed by the middle and lower classes and was usually accompanied by dancing.

    Herb Watson, flutist and arranger, included music that was the most common but about which the least is known for scarcity of primary sources.

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  • Upon a Viol At Sea

    Upon a Viol At Sea

    Wayne Moss plays the viola da gamba for the Governor's Musick, the performing ensemble of Colonial Williamsburg.

    The unique character of the viol was exploited by numerous chamber music composers and Wayne's choice of music accurately reflects the period.

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  • ENCORE! Music from the 18th-Century Theatre

    ENCORE! Music from the 18th-Century Theatre

    Music from the 18th-century Theatre is performed by Colonial Williamsburg singers and by musicians on period instruments.

    The music selected for this recording represents the style of music that could be experienced in theatres throughout North America in colonial times. Music from English plays was often sung and played in homes and taverns by amateurs as well.

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  • 4th of July Concert:  The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg

    4th of July Concert: The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg

    Lively dance tunes and spirited medleys are heard on the "The Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg 4th of July Concert."

    Performed and recorded live on July 4, 2005, to celebrate a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people, the music also includes a salute to each of the 13 original colonies and concludes with "The Star Spangled Banner" and the sound of fireworks.

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  • From Ear to Ear:  The Passage of African Music through American Slavery

    From Ear to Ear: The Passage of African Music through American Slavery

    In all things African, there is music. It is the essence of life from the secular to the sacred.

    The unique rhythm and joyful energy of the diverse musical traditions of the African diaspora are presented by the early songs in West African languages, the folk songs of the Caribbean and mainland North America. Work, children and spirit are celebrated.

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  • The World Turned Upside Down

    The World Turned Upside Down

    Inspiration for selections performed on this CD from Colonial Williamsburg came from a collection of fife and drum music played at the Battle of Yorktown - the final battle of the American Revolutionary War.

    Today, the Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg carry forward the tradition of military music heard on the battlefields of Yorktown. Legend has it that the British played a tune called "The World Turned Upside Down" the day they surrendered. Although historians find no record of the tune being played that day, they do know many pieces that were, and the Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg perform selections from the battlefield on this CD.

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  • A Grand Entertainment

    A Grand Entertainment

    Since the first organized Christmas celebration drew visitors to Colonial Williamsburg in 1936, nothing quite matches the beauty, imagination, excitement, pageantry, sights, smells, sounds, and grandeur of the Christmas season in Colonial Williamsburg.

    "A Grand Entertainment" brings the magic sounds of Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg to life. From the refined notes of classic pieces played on period instruments to the rich voices raised in songs remembered from Christmases long ago, and the frivolity of a tavern balladeer, listeners are carried away to a season of Grand Entertainment in Colonial Williamsburg.

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  • Keys of the Palace

    Keys of the Palace

    Colonial Williamsburg's Michael Monaco performs Peter Pelham's repertoire of 18th century music on the period keyboard instruments of the Governor's Palace.

    Williamsburg's chief musician for more than fifty years was Peter Pelham. He worked in theaters, churches, concert halls and in the chambers of the Colonial gentry, and he often performed for the Royal Governor's at the Governor's Palace. The music in this CD reflects the selections that Monaco plays superbly throughout the year at Colonial Williamsburg's live music venues.

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  • A Numerous and Brilliant Assembly: A Colonial Williamsburg Musical Sampler

    A Numerous and Brilliant Assembly: A Colonial Williamsburg Musical Sampler

    Colonial Williamsburg has produced a number of recordings that feature the authentic instruments and music of eighteenth-century Virginia. From classical to slave songs, this is a sampler of the music performed in the various music venues.

    Selected performances from nine of Colonial Williamsburg's recordings provide the listener with a sampler of eighteenth-century music ranging from thrilling fife and drum marches, to the chamber music enjoyed by Thomas Jefferson, from chants used by slaves working in the field, to the music enjoyed by common folks in Williamsburg's taverns.

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  • In Freedom We're Born:  Songs from the American Revolution

    In Freedom We're Born: Songs from the American Revolution

    New lyrics set to familiar (or some not so familiar) English melodies, recorded using eighteenth-century instrumentation to recreate the ambience of a small tavern or public meeting place.

    These are popular liberty songs of the American Revolution sung in taverns, in homes, and on the street. We hope to inspire a greater appreciation of the people caught up in the struggle for independence.

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  • A Delightful Recreation: The Music of Thomas Jefferson

    A Delightful Recreation: The Music of Thomas Jefferson

    The selection of music presented here re-creates Jefferson's Williamsburg entertainments and gives the listener a sample of his musical experience. Recorded in the Governor's Palace ballroom, this recording captures the spirit of the times of Jefferson.

    As a frequent visitor to the Raleigh Tavern and the Capitol, Jefferson heard subscription concerts and danced at the balls and assemblies. For Jefferson, music was a "delightful recreation" and a "companion which [could] sweeten many hours." While his personal involvement with musical performance declined sharply after 1780, his interest in this particular fine art persisted in his activities as an enthusiastic parent, grandfather, and president.

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  • Echoes of Revolution

    Echoes of Revolution

    Another fine collection of military and marching music performed by The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums.

    Hear tunes that inspired the courage of our patriots or comforted them around their fires at night. When the eighteenth-century fifers and drummers found music they especially liked, they wrote the tunes down in manuscripts. Some have become favorites of our visitors. We hope you will find some familiar tunes - some of your favorites - in this collection.

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  • Marching Out of Time

    Marching Out of Time

    Exhilarating fife and drum music that marked the routine of military troops during the 18th century and sent the patriots marching into battle.

    The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums are world-renowned military and field music performers. This collection of compound and common time signatures researched from early manuscripts proves that colonial military units performed complex music.

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  • Instrumental Music from the Colonial Williamsburg Collection

    Instrumental Music from the Colonial Williamsburg Collection

    On this recording of period music, the Cross Violin, Kirckman Harpsichord, Keene Spinet, Broadwood Pianoforte and three flutes are played just as they were 200 years ago.

    A broad range of program selections has been chosen for this early music recording to highlight the extraordinary musicianship of Darling, Marshall, Bushee and Watson. They convey, for new listeners and old, the delightful music of colonial Virginia.

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  • Christmas Music from Williamsburg

    Christmas Music from Williamsburg

    The recording was made in Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg, Virginia. The music has been gathered from a wide variety of sources. Its relatively simple character makes it suitable for performing by amateurs at home during the Christmas season.

    Few descriptions of Christmas activities in colonial Virginia survive. Statements such as these indicate a joyful state of mind and are valuable testimony of celebration, at least among the well-to-do citizens. Christmas was generally celebrated at home with family and the seasonal excitement was centered there.

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  • Songs for a Williamsburg Christmas

    Songs for a Williamsburg Christmas

    Carols, motets, hymns, songs, and madrigals reflect the enthusiastic joy and high spirits of Yuletide celebrations in Williamsburg.

    The Williamsburg Madrigal Singers have spread the music of Christmas from Bruton Parish Church to King’s Arms Tavern, from "groaning board" feasts to outdoor bonfires. Christmas songs from a variety of sources are joined together in the spirit of peace.

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  • A Half Century of Quarter Notes

    A Half Century of Quarter Notes

    In 2008, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums. This CD highlights the recorded musical history of the Corps from 1961 to 2008.

    The fifers and drummers, or field musicians, of the regiment were typically boys too young to bear arms, whose primary purpose was to relay commands to soldiers in the field. This rich historical context led to the establishment of a fife and drum corps for Colonial Williamsburg in 1958. It has continued, uninterrupted, to the present day. Millions of visitors to the Historic Area have experienced the history of the American Revolution through the stirring musical performances of The Fifes and Drums.

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