About Evergreen Shade


Evergreen Shade - Biography

Mrs. Robert Howard and Dr. John Tole are Evergreen Shade.    Their repertoire includes American period music from colonial days to the present as well as traditional and modern Celtic, folk, country, and pop tunes.    Their common interest in the songs of the Civil War brought them together.   While they focus on music of the Civil War, 1812, American Revolution and Colonial eras, they also perform a wide variety of other traditional and modern acoustic and folk songs including an entire program of songs with rural/environmental themes as well as Irish/Celtic, Christmas, and country music.

Mrs. Howard is a former teacher and accountant.   A native of Centreville, VA, she has been singing and performing since she was a young girl in church choirs, plays, contests, and various civic events.    She has also performed with the Fauquier Community Theatre.  She is a member of the Society of the Lees, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Daughters of the American Revolution, National Society United States Daughters of 1812, the Colonial Dames, and the American Colonists.    Her family is among the First Families of Virginia.     She conducts research in genealogy, especially the era of the War Between the States and has participated in living history events for many years.   She resides in rural Jeffersonton, VA.

Dr. Tole is a native of Washington, D.C. with Civil War roots in both New York and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia:  one great-great grandfather was a Union naval officer; another was a member of the Stonewall Brigade in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.   He taught and conducted research in engineering at M.I.T. (where he received his doctorate) and elsewhere & has spent many years in technical endeavors    Music has been an important avocation for most of his life.   He has been a member of several well-known choral groups including the Chancel Choir of the (Lutheran) Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill in Washington and the M.I.T. Choral Society.    His first musical love, however, is acoustic music, which he has performed both individually and with small groups for the past 50 years.    Dr. Tole also lectures on Civil War personalities and conducts research on this period of our history.  He is President of the Rappahannock (County) Historical Society and project manager for the county’s Civil War Trails Markers program that is erecting over 30 roadside historical markers related to the war.   He resides on a Christmas tree farm in Woodville, VA. 

Evergreen Shade performs at both historic and modern venues accompanying themselves on 6 and 12 string guitars, banjo, dulcimer, and a variety of percussion instruments.    At events with historical themes, they wear period dress and are able to comment extensively on the origins of each of the songs in their repertoire.  Whenever possible, they also try to involve the audience, especially children, in the performances.


Partial Credits

        Mount Vernon

        National Archives

        David Wills House – Gettysburg

        Museum of the Confederacy

        Stratford Hall

        Tudor Place, Washington DC

        Brandy Station Foundation

        Living History– Exchange Hotel – Gordonsville, VA

        Harper’s Ferry National Park

        Sully Plantation, Chantilly, VA

        Kernstown Battlefield

        Manassas Museum, Living History and Christmas Programs

        Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield

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