You could assume that Henry Shaffner, being a great-great Grandson of Confederate General Thomas J. (“Stonewall”) Jackson might be a Civil War buff. You would be right. But, in Henry’s family, as he was recently quoted in USA Today‘s Civil War series, “Don’t rely on your ancestors” were the watchwords. Because of all the history in Henry’s family–generals in the Revolutionary War, as well as the Civil War, and Framers of the Constitution, too, he decided on a different field in which to operate.
When he met Bobbie Caplan, the daughter of a History teacher (Central High School), the couple formed a musical team, and starting with a song for the City of Philadelphia, their first published piece they went on to be inducted into ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers).
Henry, born in Winston-Salem, NC, and a student at North Carolina State, studying to be an engineer, decided in his sophomore year that “music” was more his calling. He came to Philadelphia to study with a private teacher, and fortuitously, met Bobbie at a piano. He was playing at a fraternity party, and they were introduced by a mutual friend. As it turned out, Bobbie had discovered “Stonewall” Jackson in the 5th grade when her class was taught the poem “Barbara Frietchie,” by John Greenleaf Whittier. She claims it was “Civil War Heaven” when she met and fell in love with Henry Shaffner.
Between the two of them they have turned out scores of songs, some even historical and political in nature. You can find one of them on YouTube, concerning Hillary Clinton, as delivered by the great cabaret performer John Wallowitch (a Central High grad), on a New York Cable Show. Another of their works, dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg, a World War II hero of unparalleled proportions, was used by the US Postal Service in the official ceremonies when the Wallenberg Stamp was issued. The music can be heard on the Internet on The Wallenberg website.
The Shaffner team has not ignored the Civil War. Their song for Jimmy Carter’s inaugural was based on “The Battle Cry for Freedom,” one of the most popular pieces of the wartime, in the 1860s. They also dedicated a work to “Stonewall” in conjunction with the movie “Gods & General.” The Hardtack Boys deliver it, with unusual verve!
Currently, “The Phillies Are Winning Again,” is getting airplay, and the CD, dedicated to the late, beloved Harry Kalas, is bringing the team a lot of Good Luck.
Henry Shaffner can be seen on USA Today’s Civil War website, along with the great great Grandsons of US Grant, and Jefferson Davis. It is a sight to be seen, for all you Civil War buffs!