Jan 122015
February 20, 2015
8:00 pmto10:30 pm

Rodney Miller Trio Feb 20On Friday, February 20, at 8:00 PM the Monadnock Folklore Society presents the Rodney Miller Trio, in the Nelson Town Hall. The concert features Rodney Miller on fiddle, David Surette on guitar, mandolin and bouzouki, and Gordon Peery on piano. Admission is $15/$12(senior, youth, or in advance).

Individually these musicians enjoy decades-long reputations as some of the finest contra dance musicians in the country. Their concert in Nelson is a rare opportunity to hear them playing in this trio configuration, and in a concert setting.

Rodney Miller has been at the forefront of traditional New England fiddling since the mid 1970’s. He was one of the first musicians to issue a recording of fiddle tunes. As early as 1983, he was designated a “Master Fiddler” in 1983 by the National Endowment for the Arts. He is widely considered to be the foremost exponent of New England style fiddling, a uniquely American blend of French Canadian and Celtic influences. Over the past 35 years, he has toured the U.S., British Isles, Australia and Denmark, performed and taught at hundreds of music and dance festivals, and recorded over ten fiddle albums.

In 1999, Rodney represented the state of New Hampshire, playing traditional fiddle music at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. He has also appeared on Garrison Keillor’s National Public Radio show “A Prairie Home Companion,” performed live with the Twyla Tharp Modern Dance Company, performed at the Lincoln Center in New York, and was recorded on the album Songs and Sounds of the Sea for the National Geographic Society.

In March, 2014 Rodney Miller was appointment by NH Gov. Hassan and the Executive Council as the new Artist Laureate of NH.

David Surette is widely regarded as one of New England’s finest guitarists,  His solo albums “Back Roads” and “Trip to Kemper” have helped to establish him as a top player and arranger of Celtic fingerstyle guitar, yet his diverse repertoire also includes original compositions, blues and ragtime, traditional American roots music, and folk music from a variety of traditions, all played with finesse, taste, and virtuosity. He is equally at home on the mandolin and bouzouki, and is well-known as a top-notch accompanist in New England’s contra dance and Celtic music circles, and is also in demand as a studio musician and sideman. He has performed throughout the country at festivals, concerts, coffeehouses and contra dances, and in 1999 toured in Brittany, France. In addition to performing and recording, Surette maintains an active teaching schedule, and is head of the folk department at the Concord (NH) Community Music School.

Gordon Peery began playing piano for contra dances in the late 1970’s, mentored by Bob McQuillen, and influenced by the Cape Breton styling of fiddler Harvey Tolman. However his style quickly evolved to express influence from rock and roll and later, jazz, while style firmly rooted with the solid rhythmic requirements demanded of traditional contra dance pianists.  His playing has been variously described as “Barrelhouse Irish”, and having the dramatic qualities of a film score.

From 1985 – 95 Gordon played and toured extensively with the celebrated band, Fresh Fish, which included fiddler Kerry Elkin. In addition to a recording with that band, Gordon has contributed to many recordings, including several from fiddler Skip Gorman.

How Did You Hear About This Concert?
May We Add You To MFS Email List?

If you prefer to mail a check for advance reservations, make the check payable to Monadnock Folklore Society and mail (so we receive the check at least 1 week before the concert) to the address on our Contact Us page.


 Posted by on January 12, 2015 at 7:28 pm
Jan 072015

Monadnock Folklore Society events are “CDSS Passport to Joy” destinations for 2015.

Anyone who joins the Country Dance and Song Society in 2015 will receive a Passport to Joy! Join online at www.cdss.org/join.

We will have stickers available to stamp your CDSS Passport at the Snow Ball, the Nelson Monday dance, and the monthly Peterborough dances.


 Posted by on January 7, 2015 at 1:01 pm
Dec 142014

The Monadnock Center for History and Culture and the Monadnock Folklore Society have jointly received $2,220 in grant funding for their upcoming exhibit titled “Gents Bow, Ladies Know How: Traditional Dance and Music in the Monadnock Region 1750-2015.”

The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts administers Project Grants for Community Engagement. The goal of the grants are to support collaborative projects that engage the arts and artists for the benefit of New Hampshire residents and communities. For this grant, there was an emphasis on projects that help to document and showcase heritage & traditional arts.

“Gents Bow, Ladies Know How” traces the long history of traditional dance and music in southwestern New Hampshire from Colonial times to the present. The exhibit features artifacts, documents, instruments, photographs and media. In addition to the on-going exhibit, there will be a series of presentations scheduled monthly through May of 2015.

The exhibit will take place in the historic Monadnock Center building in Peterborough, NH at 19 Grove Street, with the opening scheduled for Saturday January 24th in conjunction with the “Snow Ball,” a 12-hour contra dance at the Peterborough Town House. For more information call 603-924-3235 or visit www.MonadnockCenter.org.

The Monadnock Center for History and Culture is a community museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating local history and culture since its founding in 1902. The Monadnock Folklore Society was founded in 1980 to increase the visibility of folk dance and music events in southern New Hampshire, provide new venues for performers, and provide educational services in the folk arts to the community.
NH Council on the Arts Logo

 Posted by on December 14, 2014 at 8:57 pm
Dec 072014

Sacred Harp singing is much more than an interesting repertoire of early American three and four part a cappella folk music. It is a living tradition that treads an unbroken path prior to the Civil War and whose music can be directly traced as a distinct musical thread back beyond the American Revolution, through to rural England, back to Reformation psalmody and beyond to Renaissance polyphony.


Come try out Shape Note singing on the 1st and 3rd Thursday, and the 2nd Sunday, of every month in Nelson NH.

 Posted by on December 7, 2014 at 4:39 pm
Sep 162014

On Monday, September 29th, the world-famous Monday Night Dance returns to the newly renovated Nelson Town Hall.

Here’s a picture of one of our stalwart volunteers working on the repair of the floor.

Max Fixing the Floor, with Don as crew chief and Chris as fixer #2

Max Fixing the Floor, with Don as crew chief and Chris as fixer #2

See this post for more information about the project.

 Posted by on September 16, 2014 at 5:23 pm
Jul 202014

Virginia Lupi has been confirmed as the director of the N.H. Department of Cultural Resources’ Division of the Arts. Lupi was nominated by Gov. Maggie Hassan and received unanimous support of the Executive Council.

Lupi’s extensive work experience includes not-for-profit management, public policy consulting, grant writing and public relations work. Most recently, she served as executive director of the ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes in Corning, N.Y.

“New Hampshire’s arts community is critical to our high quality of life, strengthening our cultural identity and our economy,” Gov. Maggie Hassan said. “Ginnie Lupi has a wide range of experience in the arts and management, and her passion for and understanding of the arts’ importance to our communities and economy will be an asset to the Division of the Arts, the Department of Cultural Resources and the Granite State.”

“New Hampshire’s dedication to art of all kinds – physical and performed, traditional and cutting edge and everything in between – garners worldwide respect,” said Lupi. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of it.”

Lupi was selected after an extensive national search by a committee assembled by Department of Cultural Resources Commissioner Van McLeod. He then brought forth her name to Gov. Hassan.

She will join the Division of the Arts full time this summer.

The Division of the Arts is a publicly funded agency within the New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources. It began in 1965 with legislation designed “to insure that the role of the arts in the life of our communities will continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the education and welfare of our citizens.” Funding comes from state appropriations, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Conservation License Plate fund. Learn more at www.nh.gov/nharts

The NH Council on the Arts is an important supporter of the Monadnock Folklore Society.

NH Council on the Arts Logo

NH Council on the Arts Logo

 Posted by on July 20, 2014 at 1:52 pm
Jul 132014

RennAndHarvey2010It is with great sadness that we share the news that Renn Tolman passed away on July 5th in Homer, Alaska.

Renn was born in Nelson, the son of Newt and Beth Tolman. Newt played flute for the Nelson dances and with Kay Gilbert, compiled “The Nelson Collection” of fiddle tunes. The book was used by many musicians in later years to fuel the revival of traditional dance and music. Beth collaborated with Ralph Page to write The Country Dance Book, a collection of dances from the Monadnock Region.

Renn learned to play the flute from his father. He brought traditional New England style dance to Homer, Alaska. In addition, he returned to Nelson regularly where his turn on the stage was always eagerly awaited.



Renn and Harvey at Tolman Pond 2010 Photo Credit: Nate Anable

 Posted by on July 13, 2014 at 12:55 pm
May 242014
Photo of Existing Light Bar in Nelson Town Hall

Photo of Existing Light Bar in Nelson Town Hall

Nelson, NH. April 28, 2014.
After the Monday night dance in Nelson, dancers, musicians and Monadnock Folklore board members carried equipment, fans and even the old violin case that is used to collect the three-dollar dance admission to a neighboring barn in preparation for the renovation of the Nelson Town Hall.

The joke every Monday night is that the musicians & callers get paid in cookies. Don Primrose’s commanding voice will boom this announcement across the hall every week. But the dance does have a cost. The piano was purchased several years ago when the old one just couldn’t stand up to the vibration of feet balancing and fingers on its keys any longer. The hall rent increases every few years and the lighting for the stage is ancient and was rigged “temporarily” twenty years ago using plumbing piping, and if you listen carefully there is a hum from the stage lighting due to the electrical circuit.

Monadnock Folklore Society would like to make an investment in the future by upgrading the lighting to LED fixtures and a more conventional method of hanging the lights. LED fixtures have the added benefit of cutting electricity cost and hopefully helping to keep our rent increases to a minimum, with no hum!

Sound equipment is costly and heavy. Volunteers arrive every week to set up the equipment and speakers, soundboard, cables and microphones. Our goal is to make this easier and improve the quality of sound by installing a lockable soundboard and permanently mounted speakers.

The dance has come full circle and we need your help, please support this campaign to improve the lighting and sound system with a donation to Monadnock Folklore Society. The much needed improvements will cost $12,000.

Please go to our Donations page, or click the Donate button below.

Thank you for supporting the future of dance in Nelson.

 Posted by on May 24, 2014 at 11:23 pm
May 042014

Town Hall LiftedThe Nelson Town Hall Renovation has begun! See http://www.monadnockfolk.org/?p=5205 for background information.

While the hall is being renovated, the Monday dance will continue to be held.

From Monday May 5 through Monday June 2:
The Nelson Dance will be at the Peterborough Community Center (old Armory) at 25 Elm Street. The Community Center has a strict “soft-soled shoes” policy, so please, no dancing in outdoor shoes.

From Monday June 9th through Monday August 25th, the Dance will be at Heberton Hall, next to the Keene Library at 76 Winter Street in Keene.

On Monday September 1, the dance will return to the Peterborough Community Center (old Armory) at 25 Elm Street.

On Monday September 8, 15 and 22, the Dance will be at Heberton Hall, next to the Keene Library at 76 Winter Street in Keene.

Planning to be back in Nelson on Monday September 29th!

 Posted by on May 4, 2014 at 6:06 pm
Mar 162014

There will be a series of events on Saturday, May 3rd in Peterborough NH to celebrate the life of Bob McQuillen.

  • 2-4 PM Memorial at ConVal High School (184 Hancock Rd, Peterborough, NH 03458)
  • 4-8 PM Reception at the Monadnock Country Club (49 High Street 03458)
  • 7-11ish Dance at the Peterborough Town House (1 Grove Street 03458). Musicians and callers welcome to perform, send email to lsievert@yahoo.com if interested so we can keep track.

More details will be posted as they become available.

 Posted by on March 16, 2014 at 7:50 am
Mar 162014

With a 79% majority vote, the Town Hall Renovation Budget ($305,900) was approved at the Nelson Town Meeting on Tuesday, March 11th. While the majority of the renovation is funded from Town reserves, a local fund-raising effort raised $80,000 towards the Town Hall work. These donations were essential to the passage of this budget at Town Meeting and the Monadnock Folklore Society is grateful to all who contributed.

During the renovation, the Monday Night Dance will move to the Peterborough Community Center at 25 Elm Street on Monday, May 5th, and then will move to Heberton Hall in Keene on Monday, June 9th. We expect to return to the Nelson Hall by mid-August.

The work to be done on the Town Hall includes the following scope:

  1. Separate the structure from the Connector Building.
  2. Elevate the structure above its foundation.
  3. Remove the rubble foundation.
  4. Pour new concrete foundation.
  5. Reinstall granite capstones.
  6. Install drainage systems both inside and outside of new concrete walls.
  7. Pour concrete footings for posts and pour new concrete floor.
  8. Remove exterior siding from East wall.
  9. Straighten walls and level floor to best achievable plumb and level.
  10. Re-sheath East wall with OSB and reinstall siding.
  11. Reinforce roof bearing posts with steel channel iron or wood.
  12. Reinforce floor with additional wood timbers and floor joists.
  13. Reinforce roof trusses with additional framing members.
  14. Renovate window sash and front door using funds from a Moose Plate Grant.
  15. Remove furnace from Storage Room in Town Hall.
  16. Relocate furnace from Storage Room to Library Furnace Room.
  17. Install duct work for heating or introduction of ambient air for ventilation.
  18. Install fan and floor registers to bring heated or ambient air into the Town Hall.


 Posted by on March 16, 2014 at 7:39 am