Oct 022011
 
December 17, 2011
7:00 pmto11:00 pm




On Saturday, December 17 we’ll hold our Annual Solstice Party starting at 7:00 PM. The Monadnock Folklore Society brings this community event to the Nelson Town Hall each year, admission is $5, and treats are appreciated for the dessert potluck. This year the evening will begin with a holiday concert featuring a selection of traditional and original seasonal music; as part of the concert 2011 Johnny Trombly Scholarship recipient  will entertain us with their musicianship. The Folklore Society invites you to bring along your favorite holiday dessert and we’ll supply the beverages for the intermission. After the concert the chairs and benches are cleared to make way for a traditional New England Contradance. Unfortunately, or not, the dance is often interrupted by various groups of unsavory characters presenting their idea of seasonal entertainment. These diversions, sometimes involving costumed individuals making complete fools of themselves or performing ancient ritual dances to help us through this dark time of the year, are generally tolerated as once they are applauded and fed we can return to dancing the night away.

 Posted by on October 2, 2011 at 6:11 pm
Sep 142009
 
December 19, 2009
7:00 pmto11:00 pm

mummers

On Saturday, December 19 we’ll hold our Annual Solstice Party starting at 7:00 PM. The Monadnock Folklore Society brings this community event to the Nelson Town Hall each year, admission is $5, and treats are appreciated for the dessert potluck. This year the evening will begin with a holiday concert featuring a selection of traditional and original seasonal music; as part of the concert 2009 Johnny Trombly Scholarship recipient  Perin Ellsworth-Heller will entertain us with his musicianship. The Folklore Society invites you to bring along your favorite holiday dessert and we’ll supply the beverages for the intermission. After the concert the chairs and benches are cleared to make way for a traditional New England Contradance. Unfortunately, or not, the dance is often interrupted by various groups of unsavory characters presenting their idea of seasonal entertainment. These diversions,  sometimes involving costumed individuals making complete fools of themselves or performing ancient ritual dances to help us through this dark time of the year, are generally tolerated as once they are applauded and fed we can return to dancing the night away.

 Posted by on September 14, 2009 at 6:29 am
May 042009
 
Jack in the Green at Neffa

Jack in the Green at Neffa

Morris Dancers with sticks

The question arises: why do people Morris Dance? The reasons for the tradition are well documented – welcome in the spring and facilitate fertility of the earth and the creatures living here. The history of Morris dancing becomes somewhat obscure prior to the time of Shakespeare, though there are certainly indications of much earlier activity. In more agrarian times, fertility rites might have had greater urgency and relevance to survival, but one can speculate that Morris dancers of old were also inspired by those things which move the modern Morris men and women to engage in activity that seems at once ridiculous and exhausting.

I ask several Morris dancers this question – why do they Morris dance – what’s in it for them? Curiously, the word “tradition” didn’t even factor into an answer until my sixth or seventh victim (though I happen to know that all Morris dancers are knowledgeable and respectful of the tradition).  Camaraderie was a frequent word – describing not only the relationships of the team, but of fellow Morris dancers around the country, and indeed around the world. “I love to dance” was a common answer, and appreciation of the music ranked high as well.  Several  referenced the importance of the figures – the patterns and repetition . And of course, it’s just plain fun to dress up and be silly, then go to pubs for a few rounds of brew and song.

I’m not sure if anyone has ever measured the caloric expenditure of Morris Dancers, but I doubt there’s any machine at a fitness center that is more effective. Then there is the precision of the figures – the sound from those sticks hitting each other tells you that they are not kidding around. You need to have a lot of confidence not only in your own movement, but that of your teammates as well. This is a lot of work, and of course it takes a lot of practice, which in turn represents considerable dedication.

The Harrisville Morris Women

The Harrisville Morris Women

I believe that’s where the magic comes in. Hard work, focus, and perseverance – the good earth can appreciate that – add a shot of pure joy (music) and you indeed have the ingredients for fertile ground.

Locally, our Morris folk (some of whom have been dancing for 30 years) have dared to deviate somewhat from the exact traditional practices that were handed down to them as being correct, and I found no dancer who was particularly doctrinaire in their thinking about it. This is a good thing.  There is a delicate balance between preserving the technical details of a tradition and preserving the spirit.  Of course, a little spirited debate on this subject is welcome, and you can make your comments here!
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Kimberley Fraser

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The Town of Nelson has a strong connection with Cape Breton music, largely due to the influence of Nelson fiddler Harvey
Tolman. On Monday nights at the contra dance Harvey’s repertoire is rich with Cape Breton tunes rendered in the traditional style. Roger Treat, another Monday night regular, also focuses on Cape Breton music; both fiddlers have spent quite a bit of time in Cape Breton, drinking straight from the well.  Over the years the legendary fiddler Jerry Holland has become a good friend of Nelson audiences, and it might be safe to say that Nelson enjoys something of a reputation among Cape Breton players, who recognize and appreciate an educated audience.

We are very excited to be presenting Kimberley Fraser,  one of the foremost of the new generation of Cape Breton fiddlers. Like the Morris Dancers, Kimberley is solid in her traditional roots, but she is not afraid to take it to new places.  News Flash: Kimberly will be joined by the fabulous Mark Simos! You can hear some of Kimberley’s playing from her website, and you can order tickets to her May 16th concert in the Nelson Town Hall right here.

Apr 282009
 

harrisvillemorriswomen500

jackinthegreen

See the Morris Dancers

May 1st:      5:30AM – Pack Monadnock
May 2nd:   Keene, NH – Local Tour
10:00AM – Agway
11:15AM – Colony Mill
1:00PM – Railroad Square
2:15PM – Langdon Place
May 3rd:   10:45AM – Nelson, NH May Pole
May 9th:      4:00PM – Tracie’s Farm – Fitzwilliam, NH
May 10th:  10:00AM – Lilac Sunday – Boston, MA
May 16th:  Dublin & Peterborough, NH – Local Tour
9:30AM – Dublin General Store
1:00PM – Children Of The Arts Festival
2:15PM – NH Nursing Home
3:30PM – Summerhill Assisted Living

More Details and Extend Schedule: Jack in the Green

 Posted by on April 28, 2009 at 6:31 am