About Steve Ball

Steve Ball is a musician from Columbus Ohio specializing in the music of the American Civil War, and the music and life of Stephen Foster. Steve has studied the American Civil War since his teens, and has devoted the past twenty years to studying the music of this era in American history. Steve has done programs for the Ohio Statehouse, the National Civil War Museum, the American Civil War Museum of Ohio, and countless historical societies, genealogical societies, libraries, museums, Civil War Round Tables and other historical venues such as re-enactments or living history programs. He has released two CD's of the music of the Civil War and is currently working on a CD of Stephen Foster tunes. Steve has been an instructor for Life Long Learning through Central Ohio Technical College. He also provides the music for the annual Springfield Ohio Civil War Symposium, and is the narrator for the 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Civil War Brass Band. He is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and a member of the Civil War Preservation Trust. He has participated in the annual Windham New York Civil War Music Gathering, and the Gettysburg Music Muster at the Gettysburg Military Park visitor center.


The first  presentation features tunes starting in the mid 1850's that would become important regarding the climate of the country before the war began in 1861. As the presentation unfolds, there will be patriotic songs cherished by both sides, a sing along, and finally tunes that reflected the loss and melancholy the war would produce. The history and influence of each tune is shared, as well as the progress of the war itself. Gives an excellent background to both the music of the Civil War, and the war itself. 
Approximately 55 minutes.

THE WOMEN OF THE CIVIL WAR                                                                                                                                                                                      

This presentation is completely built on songs that were written about, or by, women during this period of history. Several of these tunes would become songs that would leave a permanent mark on American music, and change history in the process. The stories and background of these songs illustrate the rise and power of female artists during this period of American History.


This presentation is one of complete audience participation. Steve and Lisa will have a list of tunes numbering around forty, and of these tunes, a dozen have the words included. The audience can pick a tune, hear all about it's inspiration and background, and if it is one of the twelve that has the words in the pamphlet, sing along with Steve and Lisa. Includes many of the tunes from the Stephen Foster presentation.


As a collector of vintage instruments, mainly guitars, Steve has built a collection of Civil War Era Martin guitars, the earliest being an 1850 Martin size 3 model 17, followed by an 1851 Martin size 1 model 21, then, an 1852 size 2 model 30, an 1852 size 3, an 1855 size 1 model 26, and then an 1860 Louis Schmidt size 3 model 18.  Steve uses all of these guitars in his performances.  All guitars are in their original cases, and all are used in performances to minimize the amount of wear to any single instrument.

Steve has also accumulated a large collection of Civil War era sheet music. It is interesting to see the original sheet music for many of the tunes performed during the presentation. Steve can bring the guitars and sheet music to display when giving his presentation on the music of the Civil War.

                                                                                             STEPHEN FOSTER PRESENTATION

 Steve has spent the past several years expanding his knowledge of the life of American Composer Stephen Foster. He has built an entirely new presentation about the life & music of Stephen Foster, presenting some of Foster's famous, and not so famous tunes in a presentation lasting approximately 45 minutes. Music is performed of course on a 19th century Martin guitar, and vintage tenor banjo. Steve is currently beginning to book dates for this new presentation, if you would have any interest in the music of Stephen Collins Foster, please contact us. Thanks!!

Lisa and Steve got married in June, 2015. Lisa often joins Steve on upright bass and vocal harmonies. Lisa is a trained pianist, and an excellent musician in her own right, and is also very knowledgeable on the history of the music in both presentations. She is from Columbus Ohio, and began playing piano as a child, and began playing upright bass in 2013. 

In Steve's family heritage is his Great-Great Grandfather on Steve's Mothers side of the family, a Union Private by the name of William Tyler Butts, born in Athens County Ohio in 1842. He married in 1861, and moved to the town of Yellowbud in Ross County Ohio to work on the Ohio Canal. William enlisted in the Union Army in December of 1861, in the newly formed 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, out of Chillicothe Ohio. Private Butts saw action in the battles of Cross Keys, Second Bull Run, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge. Private Butts re-enlisted at the end of 1863, and then went with General Sherman on the drive to take Atlanta. Private Butts was shot at Kennesaw Mountain Georgia on June 19, 1864, badly wounded in the left leg. This wound did not stop him from participating in the famous "March to the Sea", as he rejoined the 73rd just before the Battle of Atlanta. He was mustered out of the Union Army on July 7, 1865, a significant date in history, being the same day the Lincoln conspirators were hung in Washington D.C. William Butts returned home to Yellowbud with a still badly wounded leg, Tuberculosis, and chronic dysentery. His son, born in 1861, died in 1866. William then fathered four daughters, the second becoming Steve's Great Grandmother.
William Tyler Butts died on August 28, 1874, at the age of 32 of "consumption", the then-title for TB. He left a widow and four daughters. He was buried in Yellowbud, Ohio his grave left unmarked for 117 years, until Steve confirmed his burial site in 1991. Steve contacted the Veterans Administration, and Private William Tyler Butts finally received his Military Grave marker in August of 1991.  Steve is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, always wearing his SUV medal on his uniform.