☼ ☼ ☼ Alex Cumming ‘Homecoming’ Tour | Nelson Town Hall | March 16, 2024

Join us for a concert with critically acclaimed folk singer and accordionist Alex Cumming as he celebrates the launch of his brand new album, ‘Homecoming’, an exciting album full of toe-tapping tunes, beautiful ballads and rollicking choruses. The concert will take place at the Nelson Town Hall at 7:30 on Saturday, March 16. Joining Alex will be virtuosic fiddler and singer Audrey Jaber, known for her work with The Gaslight Tinkers, Wake Up Robin, Larry Unger, Free Raisins and more. Admission is $20/$15(seniors, students, or in advance).

Alex Cumming is a traditional Singer, Accordionist, Pianist and dance caller hailing from Somerset, England, now living in Brattleboro VT, USA. He performs songs and tunes from around the United Kingdom and America with a great depth of knowledge of the tradition. Alex has made his mark on the folk scene with his rhythmic dance-able accordion style, strong voice and his fun and engaging stage presence. After over a decade of recording albums and touring with various bands, 2024 sees Alex release his debut solo album, ‘Homecoming’, featuring fiddler Audrey Jaber (Wake Up Robin, Free Raisins), guitarist Max Newman (Stringrays, Nor’Easter) and regular recording collaborator Pete Ord (Haystack Records).Alex is a member of Celtic trio Bellwether (with Louise Bichan, Eric McDonald), award winning a capella quartet The Teacups and critically acclaimed duo Alex Cumming & Nicola Beazley. You may also catch him playing for dances in many combos, including Stuart Kenney’s Red Case Band and trio Crossover. Alex is also Artistic Director for Revels North. AlexCummingMusic.com

You know Audrey Jaber is performing if the room is buzzing at a higher level. Her fiddling, featured in bands including The Free Raisins, The Gaslight Tinkers, Audacious (with Larry Unger), and Wake Up Robin, has electrified dance and concert halls across the US and Europe. Hailing from Honolulu and now living in California, she cut her folk teeth in the Boston area, attending Berklee College of Music and spending years exploring the thriving New England folk scene. Audrey’s fiddle playing is rhythmically lively and spontaneous; she’s guaranteed to get you up and dancing. She specializes in English dance, New England, Celtic, and Old Time tunes (and did we mention she’s also an audio engineer?!). You might also have taken a workshop with Audrey, as she’s been on staff at various camps including various weeks at Pinewoods, Ashokan Northern Week, BACDS American week, New London Assembly and Halsway Manor. For more on Audrey, visit her at audreyknuth.com



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☼ ☼ ☼ Nelson Solstice Party | Nelson Town Hall | December 16, 2023

On Saturday, December 16, we’ll hold our Annual Solstice Party starting at 7:00 PM.

PRESS: DO NOT PUBLICIZE THIS EVENT

The Monadnock Folklore Society brings this community event to the Nelson Town Hall each year, admission is $10, 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 performed by The Solstice Sisters (Alouette Iselin, Kim Wallach, & Heather Bower) and friends. 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.

☼ ☼ ☼ Troy MacGillivray & Kimberley Fraser | Nelson Town Hall | Sept. 16, 2023

Join us for an evening of Music from Cape Breton and Nova Scotia with Troy MacGillivray and Kimberley Fraser at the Nelson Town Hall on Saturday, September 16 at 7:30 PM. Admission is $25/$20(senior, student, or in advance). Troy and Kimberley will accompany each other on fiddle and piano in the classic Cape Breton style, and if past performances are any guide, treat us to some step dancing. This will be our first Cape Breton concert in quite some time and will be a night to remember. The concert is presented in part with the support of the Thomas Wright Foundation.

Troy MacGillivray is from Lanark, a small community on the north-eastern shore of Nova Scotia. Troy’s commitment to music has spanned 30 years and includes both practical and academic accomplishments – most recently an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick in Ireland. From as young as six years old, Troy was impressing audiences step dancing and soon after, fiddle and piano skills. His first teaching gig was at 13 years old at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, Cape Breton. His roots-centered approach comes from a family of proud Scottish heritage where fiddle playing and Gaelic traditions runs in the bloodline.

In 2012, Troy was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for contributions to culture in Canada. Troy’s strong career has brought him around the world playing and teaching from the North Pole to the Afghanistan while solo recordings have received numerous nominations and awards from East Coast Music Awards and the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

Kimberley Fraser was born on Cape Breton Island, and nurtured within its rich musical heritage. She first began to impress audiences at the age of three with her step-dancing talents. Soon after that she took up both the fiddle and the piano.  Kimberley’s career is a distinguished one; she has traveled the world, from Victoria to Afghanistan, performing at venues such as The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. bringing Cape Breton music with her wherever she goes. Dan MacDonald of the Cape Breton Post says about Fraser’s versatility, “She has matured to become one of the stellar players of the Cape Breton fiddle tradition, equally at home at a house party, playing for a square dance or on stage for a concert in Bras d’Or or Boston, Scotsville or Scotland.” Kimberley has shared the stage with the finest acts in Celtic music, such as Alasdair Fraser, Martin Hayes and Lunasa. Kimberley is also in demand for her piano skills, accompanying musicians at home and abroad.

Kimberley holds a degree in Violin performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston as well as a BA with Honours in Celtic Studies and major in Jazz piano from St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Education is important to her, reflected in Kimberley’s dedication to teaching Cape Breton music both at home and abroad. A master at the trio of fiddling, step dancing and piano, Kimberley is a much sought after teacher for all three. Her reputation as a teacher has brought her to conduct workshops at many camps and festivals, including Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Fiddle Camp, the Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, North Carolina, and The American Festival of Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Washington to name a few. She is now a full-time faculty member for the Music Arts program at the Nova Scotia Community College’s Marconi Campus in Sydney, NS where she teaches music theory, ear training, piano keyboarding skills and a variety of ensemble classes.

Kimberley has released 2 studio albums: Heart Behind the Bow in 2000 and Falling on New Ground in 2006 which earned her an East Coast Music Award for Best Roots/Traditional Record in 2008.

Mummers

☼ ☼ ☼ A Virtual Nelson Solstice Party | Wherever You Are

On Saturday, December 19, 2020, we published our Annual Solstice Party as a collection of YouTube videos. The Monadnock Folklore Society produces this community event every year, and this year we’ll forego the admission and the dessert potluck will be DIY.

In 2019, we had more interest in this event than the Nelson Town Hall could accommodate and many people were turned away at the door. Here is the 2019 Holiday Concert featuring a selection of traditional and original seasonal music performed by The Solstice Sisters (Alouette Iselin, Melanie Everard, Kim Wallach, & Heather Bower) and friends including a performance by our Johnny Trombly Scholarship recipient. 

After the concert, the chairs and benches are usually 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. Last year we had to endure this 2019 Mummer’s Play.

Due to our current circumstances, we are not able to host this event in the traditional manner but we have managed to collect some video performances including Kim’s solo version of the Nelson Wassail and our 2020 Mummer’s Play.

You may also be interested in these videos from previous Solstice concerts:

https://youtu.be/ytHSRV510Ns – harp and hammer dulcimer

https://youtu.be/zvGHVqDU7HY – Green Grows the Holly

https://youtu.be/wdU3NBlvfQY – Let This Be My Prayer

https://youtu.be/sAGjuTFUDMY – Traveler’s Prayer

https://youtu.be/tKWgGlcVlyo  Wassail the Silver Apple

https://youtu.be/4A3guUyKzUk Comfort of Singing Voices

https://youtu.be/0pazXEjvM34 Keep Me Warm Medley

https://youtu.be/5OZEnsU_ICg Children Go Where I Send Thee

https://youtu.be/BlWzz27AQso Walking in the Air

☼ ☼ ☼ Andrea Beaton & Troy MacGillivray Concert | Nelson Town Hall on Feb. 21, 2020

We are so excited to welcome back Andrea and Troy for a concert on Friday, February 21 at 7:30 PM at the Nelson Town Hall. Admission is $18/$15(Sr/Jr).

Two of the finest fiddlers from the East Coast of Canada in concert!

Andrea Beaton comes from a long line of Beaton and MacMaster musicians, which explains why her music is her own and deeply rooted in the Cape Breton tradition. Like her father and grandfather, she is a composer, adding fine new music to the island’s repertoire.

She tours internationally and is in great demand as a teacher at music camps. Her passion for Cape Breton fiddle, piano, step dancing, and comical stories are sure to delight any crowd.

Troy MacGillivray is from Lanark, a small community on the north-eastern shore of Nova Scotia. Troy’s commitment to music has spanned 30 years and includes both practical and academic accomplishments – most recently an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick in Ireland. From as young as six years old, Troy was impressing audiences step dancing and soon after, fiddle and piano skills. His roots-centered approach has the power to inspire audiences and comes from a family of proud Scottish heritage where fiddle playing and Gaelic traditions runs in the bloodline. Troy is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for contributions to culture in Canada.

Separately they have strong careers that have brought them around the world playing and teaching from the North Pole to the Middle East. Solo recordings by both artists have been acknowledged with East Coast music awards over several years. Andrea and Troy share a musical ancestry – they are distant cousins where many of their relatives are excellent and prolific musicians!

Together these two accomplished solo artists offer a taste of Nova Scotia’s best traditional music. Andrea and Troy will captivate and enchant the audience with contemporary tunes fused with the music of their Highland ancestry.

☼ ☼ ☼ Windborne | Nelson Town Hall | December 6, 2019

Coming off two years as featured vocalists for Christmas Celtic Sojourn in Boston, as well as a collaboration with Nowell Sing We Clear, Windborne, known for their powerful vocal harmony and stunning original arrangements, presents songs of the season along with their diverse repertoire of music from around the world in this can’t-miss concert.  Windborne has collected and studied polyphonic vocal music for over 15 years from traditional singing masters from cultures around the world, Windborne is able to shift from radically different genres like no band you have ever heard, as comfortable with an improvised Corsican couplet son, as an English protest ballad from the 17th century. Lynn Mahoney Rowan, Will Thomas Rowan, Lauren Breunig, and Jeremy Carter-Gordon share a vibrant energy onstage – their connection to each other and to the music clearly evident. They educate as they entertain, telling stories about the music and explaining the characteristics and stylistic elements of the traditions in which they sing. Join us on Friday, December 6, 2019, 7:30 PM at the Nelson Town Hall for a concert of seasonal music. Admission is $18/$15(Sr/Jr).

While all four singers had other careers, ranging from trapeze artist to dance anthropologist, the outpouring of requests for performances led them to make spreading this music and message their full time work, and they are now touring across the US and UK.

“The best musical discovery of the year…Stunningly powerful vocal harmony in the tradition of the Watersons, The Voice Squad, and Coope, Boyes, and Simpson, Windborne sets a new bar for folk harmony singing today”

-Brian O’Donovan, National Public Radio

☼ ☼ ☼ Mac Morin & Wendy MacIsaac | Nelson Town Hall | November 16, 2019

The Monadnock Folklore Society is pleased to welcome Cape Breton pianist, Mac Morin with fiddler Wendy MacIsaac back to the Nelson Town Hall for a concert of Cape Breton music on Saturday, November 16 at 2:00 PM. Admission is $15/$12(Sr/Jr).

As with most Cape Breton musicians, music for Mac started early and was humbly nurtured in the home. Step dancing came first, with his earliest steps and guidance provided for by his mother, Mary Catherine, herself a noted dancer who toured the UK and performed at the the World Expo in Montreal in 1967.

By 15, Mac was known as one of Cape Breton’s finest dancing performers and began teaching traditional dance in Cape Breton. He continues to travel through out Canada, the US and Europe teaching/performing the traditional dancing of the Island with recent workshops at the Gaelic College (Cape Breton), Sabhal Mor Ostaig (Scotland), and the University of Limerick (Ireland). He has also recently performed several tours with Dannsa, a Scottish dance/music ensemble during the winters of 2009-2013.

Although piano was not his first display of the Cape Breton culture, it has become another element that Mac is now known for. Since he began to play nearly 20 years ago, he has managed to record and tour with many great performers including Yo-Yo Ma, the Rankin Family, Ashley MacIsaac, Allison Krauss, Dianna Krall, the Cheiftains, Art Garfunkle, and many more. He was a cofounder/coproducer of the Cape Breton traditional group, Beolach, whose 2 albums were nominated for East Coast Music Award (ECMA). He has most recently recorded with Natalie MacMaster on her ECMA award winning album, Cape Breton Girl, and continues to tour with her throughout North America and Europe. On rare occasions when he is home in Cape Breton, he is highly sought after to lend his skills at dances, concerts, ceilidhs, and the house parties.

Wendy MacIsaac is a renowned fiddler from Cape Breton who has been playing music for over 30 years. She is recognized as one of the “old school” style of players who has kept the traditional sound going and has a deep respect for it. Wendy is also a sought after piano accompanist and step dancer.  Besides performing as a solo artist, Wendy tours with Mary Jane Lamond .

Wendy can also be seen performing with Heather Rankin and occasionally Beolach who she toured with for 11 years.

Wendy is in high demand for her skills at teaching the Cape Breton style of fiddling. She travels throughout North America and overseas as well as teaching from her home in Halifax.

☼ ☼ ☼ Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses | Dublin School | July 5, 2019

 

Join us for a special evening of traditional New Orleans jazz with Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses at the Dublin School in Dublin, NH. This will be an outdoor event, weather permitting, Friday, July 5, 7:00 pm at the Fountain Arts Building on the Dublin School campus. The concert is co-sponsored by The Walden School, the Monadnock Folklore Society and the Dublin School and is FREE and open to the public.

The New Orleans Moonshiners, Meschiya Lake’s Little Big Horns, Panorama Jazz Band, Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers, Monocle—just a partial list of groups to which Aurora Nealand claims membership.

The Royal Roses grew out of the rich resurgence that traditional jazz is seeing in New Orleans amongst the younger generation of musicians today. Saxophonist/vocalist Aurora Nealand has been playing in various groups in New Orleans since 2005, and the Royal Roses, founded in 2010, is her first venture as a bandleader. The Royal Roses draw their repertoire heavily from Sidney Bechet, Django Reinhart and traditional jazz of New Orleans. Comprised of some of the finest young players on the New Orleans music scene today, the Royal Roses are seeking to breath new energy, arrangements and compositions into this genre of music while exploring and learning from its rich history and tradition. They’ve performed in New Orleans at the French Quarter Festival, Satchmo Festival and Preservation Hall, as well as in NYC at Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival. In the Spring of 2018 The Royal Roses were voted “Best Traditional Jazz Band”  at the Big Easy Awards!! Their first album “A Tribute to Sydney Bechet: Live at Preservation Hall” was released in 2011 to national acclaim. Their second album “The LookBack Transmission” was released in 2014 and includes original and traditional compositions including one Ms. Nealand wrote for the HBO series “Treme”. Inn 2016 they released a third album, “Comeback Children”.

The Royal Roses lineup fronted by Aurora Nealand on vocals and saxophone includes Dave Boswell on trumpet, Jon Ramm on trombone, Matt Bell on guitar, Nathan Lambertson on bass, and Paul Thibodeaux playing drums.

☼ ☼ ☼ High Drive | Nelson Town Hall on Sunday, March 24, 2019

On Sunday, March 24 at 3:00pm in the afternoon the band High Drive will perform a concert anchored in Celtic music, with some enticing diversions into folk songs, gospel,  and original fiddle tunes at the Nelson Town Hall. Admission is $18/$15(Sr/Jr).

The band is a result of fiddler Bonnie Bewick and pianist Gordon Peery meeting at Maine Fiddle Camp. After playing a single set of Scottish tunes together they knew they wanted to have the opportunity to play a full concert, exploiting their broad and diverse musical experiences. Filling out the band is bassist Larry Wolfe.

Bonnie Bewick enjoys playing many different musical genres. She has been a violinist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1987. She plays with the folk orchestra Childsplay, and performs in a folk duo, “Frame”, with her brother, singer-songwriter Ken Bewick. The concert will feature several of her original tunes.

Larry Wolfe once conducted an ensemble of eighty bass players at Disneyland in his own arrangements of Disney tunes.  As a composer, he has numerous popular songs and three musicals to his credit. Larry is the assistant principal bassist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Gordon Peery’s piano playing brings an orchestral energy to performances. He was a founding member of the bands Fresh Fish (with fiddler Kerry Elkin), the New Hampshire Fiddlers Union, and Trip to Nelson. He also plays in jazz, blues, and rock and roll ensembles.

The trio will be joined by singer Jazimina MacNeil for some songs.