Roots musician Andrew Acosta fondly remembers Cherry Hill. Growing up in the City of Falls Church, the historic farm was his playground, his hangout, his shortcut from the library back to his childhood home. It’s been his musical venue, as it is the site of the City’s summer Concerts in the Park series which he’s played annually for more than a decade.
“To me it’s the historical heart of the City,” Acosta says.
Most recently, it’s become the unexpected source of inspiration for a song and music video, which Acosta will debut next Saturday at ArtSpace Falls Church.
He was asked in the summer by local filmmaker Michael Hamilton for help with a filming project at Cherry Hill Farmhouse, a home built in 1845 and in recent years protected and honored as an historic site. Hamilton directed Acosta as he walked through the house – passing through the front door, climbing the stairs, entering the kitchen, taking the very steps that might have been taken by the home’s residents more than 150 years prior.
Acosta didn’t know what the footage would become, but when he later watched what Hamilton had captured – the feeling of nostalgia evoked by the historic home – he found inspiration. He wrote “Cherry Hill,” and the film project became a music video for the new song.
The song’s balladeer is a fictional character, Acosta says, one inspired by the 19th-century residents of the farmhouse. The Blaisdell family lived there during the Civil War, and the Riley family lived there into the 1900s. The song’s lyrics speak of troubling encounters with Mosby’s Rangers and tender reflections on work and life in the farmhouse to illuminate Cherry Hill’s Civil War history.
Acosta and Hamilton received a grant from the CATCH Foundation, which funds projects focused on the arts, history, and culture in the City, and sponsorship from the Friends of Cherry Hill Foundation, which preserves the Cherry Hill site and promotes its legacy. Hamilton and Acosta will be making a second video featuring not just Cherry Hill, but also Brown’s Hardware and The Falls Church, City landmarks each with their own historical significance.
The first of the two videos will be debuted next Saturday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. at ArtSpace Falls Church, where the video will be shown. Acosta will play some songs as well. He plans to make the video available to local libraries and public access channels as a way to share the City’s history.
Several City of Falls Church locations have a history dating back to the Civil War and Acosta hopes that his video will provide local viewers an entertaining way to tap into the history of the places they walk by every day.
“It’s a good way to bring to life some local history, imagining the lives that might have gone on in a place like Cherry Hill,” Acosta said.
• For more information about Andrew Acosta, visit andrewacosta.com.