music, storytelling, history

Commemorate the


with Sparky & Rhonda Rucker's production of


Sparky & Rhonda Rucker in Civil War garb Photo by Van Meade

"The Ruckers' performance was truly superb. The choice of music selections and the lively professionalism of their delivery kept the audience enthralled."

Frank Deckert, Superintendent Petersburg National Battlefield, Virginia

"Mr. Sparky Rucker is a combination of Civil War historian, re-enactor, actor, and musician [who] brought to the cadet corps an understanding of the life and times of America's most costly war."

The Oak Leaf
Oak Ridge Military Academy
Oak Ridge, NC

"I would like to thank you for your outstanding performance of Blue and Gray in Black and White at our Gaston County Public Library...."

Carol Reinhardt, Program Coordinator
Gaston County Public Library, Gastonia, NC

Sparky & Rhonda Rucker's passion for the American Civil War inspired their special historical program entitled The Blue & Gray in Black & White. This presentation tells stories from the war in music and narrative and focuses on the war's impact on the different regions of our country. The stories, some sad and some humorous, reflect personal insights from the various personalities who participated in the war. Sparky & Rhonda can often include stories about the events of the local community in which they are performing. Since more songs came out of the Civil War than any other war in history, they have a large repertoire of music to draw upon.

Union and Confederate flags

Sparky is also currently researching Confederate General James Edward Rains, who had a promising political career before the war as editor of the Nashville Banner and Davidson County’s attorney general. Rains died gloriously leading a charge at the Battle of Stones River. In that same battle, Rhonda's great-great grandfather, Lt. Col. William Thedford, took over his regiment when his colonel was captured. Sparky and Rhonda's family history, which includes both slaves and Confederate soldiers, adds to their unique perspective on the Civil War as they tell the story from several points of view.

This special, costumed program is available by prior arrangement.

See the following video of Sparky and Rhonda's performance of the Civil War song,
"Goin' 'Cross the Mountain," at the Oak Grove Festival in Virginia.

The Ruckers have given their Civil War program across the country as well as overseas, including the following places:

Petersburg National Battlefield
The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina
Salute to the Park at Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park
Fort Donelson National Battlefield
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Oak Ridge Military Academy
National Folk Festival in Canberra, Australia
Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site
Hunter Museum in Chattanooga
Cheney Cowles Museum Concert for the Spokane Folklore Society
Augusta Heritage Center at Davis & Elkins College, West Virginia
Common Ground on the Hill at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD
Kutztown University in Pennsylvania
Lisle Public Library in Lisle, IL
Indiana University Northwest
Weber State University in Ogden, Utah
Hamilton College in Clinton, NY
Forsyth County Public Library, Winston-Salem, NC
Florida State College of Jacksonville
Ramsey House Plantation, Knoxville, TN
Knoxville Civil War Roundtable, Knoxville, TN
Jazz National Historic Park, New Orleans, LA
Vineyard Haven Public Library in Vineyard Haven, MA
Gaston County Public Library in Gastonia, NC
Cascades Branch, Loudoun County Library, Potomac Falls, VA
Tryon Palace, New Bern, NC
Old Salem Museums and Gardens, Winston-Salem, NC
Numerous schools and colleges

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Copyright © 2001-2019 by James "Sparky" Rucker and Rhonda H. Rucker. All rights reserved.
Web Site by Rhonda H. Rucker