Dec 182011
 

How To Write A Mummers Play
By Allison Aldrich
December 2011

‘Twas a month before Solstice, and all through my head
Ran a host of ideas and thoughts, so instead
Of paying my bills or attending to mail,
I spent every day on the Web, without fail
Trolling for news items, searching for memes-
Soon it was haunting my thoughts and my dreams.
Oh, no! it’s December! And I haven’t written
A line or a phrase- I must have been smitten
With rushes of blood to my head to agree
To write this ridiculous annual spree.
But now they are asking, “So, how is it going?”
“Just great!” I assure them, sincerity flowing.
In fact, I’ve a plot in my head that might work,
And yes! Just in time, there’s an obvious jerk
In the news, who is perfect for playing the Fool,
And the maiden is there, but the hero’s in school
And can’t be consulted. The Dragon could be
Any number of nasties that daily we see
On the news, on the streets, but whichever I choose,
You can bet that the week of the show there’ll be news
Of an impending threat or a star on a bend,
Who should be included, but now to attend
To rehearsals, and costumes, and last-minute changes-
The rhymes don’t quite scan, Father Christmas arranges
A family party the day of the show!
The Fair Maiden’s costume’s revealing to show
What must not be shown- can we get underway
And perform a complete and acceptable play
That has humor and context and couplets that rhyme,
And scan the right rhythm, for most of the time?
Will the audience laugh? Will the swords ever lock?
Will the hero lie there with a hole in his sock?
Yes , they will, yes we can, yes we did, it was fun!
And now I can file this son-of-a-gun!
Will I do it again? Oh, I will if they ask,
Despite all the worries that come with the task.
And now to relax, celebrate with good cheer!
I wish you good Solstice, and happy New Year!

 Posted by on December 18, 2011 at 12:57 pm
Dec 042011
 

The Kickstarter funds will cover the following costs: Studio time, mixing and mastering, graphic design, manufacturing and duplication costs, promotional materials such as posters and stickers, and producer and guest artist fees.

Annalivia is a folk-fusion string-band from the Boston area that has been in business for a few years and has recently undergone a lineup change. They are revamping their sound, bringing it back home to our American roots, while still allowing a multitude of influences to be present. Each band member brings impeccable musicianship, thorough training in his/her instrument, stellar arranging abilities, and overall stylistic versatility and innovative sensibilities. This project will be their third album to date, and will consist of original songs and tunes as well as adapted traditional material. Twin fiddles, driving guitar, flat–picking, mandolin, and strong vocals are what can be expected– with some surprise guest artists in the mix.

Read more at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1294648332/annalivia-new-sound-new-album

 Posted by on December 4, 2011 at 7:50 am
Nov 282011
 

Among the many things we love about the summer in Nelson are the youth groups who join us for dances. We all know about the Apple Hill Chamber Music program, which brings youth from around the world to Nelson. Another wonderful group that joins us is Kroka Expeditions, which provides outdoor education through challenging trips.

This summer’s Kroka youth sent a lovely card to the Monadnock Folklore Society, reproduced below. Thank YOU, Kroka!

Kroka Thank You Card

 Posted by on November 28, 2011 at 11:20 am
Sep 112011
 

With the departure of Monadnock Folklore Society board member Dave Eisenstadter to Boston in order to advance his journalism career, MFS finds itself in need of writers.

If you would like to review local concerts, write about folk traditions, interview visiting personalities, or have other ideas about articles that belong on this web site, please contact info@monadnockfolk.org.

 Posted by on September 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm
Aug 312011
 

Scott Ainslie sends the following information:

I’ve just uploaded an appeal for donations to the Red Cross fashioned from my footage of the Whetstone Brook floodwaters here in Brattleboro, Vermont and set to Stephen Foster’s remarkable anthem “Hard Times, Come Again No More.”
We are working on getting a benefit concert together for affected area families and businesses now. Have a look at what our little 8″ deep brook turned into on Sunday, August 28, 2011 and if you have even a little extra to share, consider a donation of any size to the local Red Cross chapters here in Vermont.
The new video is available at: Brattleboro’s Hard Times by Scott Ainslie

Please pass the word. We’re all doing what we can to help out. Your help will be much appreciated, as well.
Best wishes,
Scott Ainslie
http://cattailmusic.com
Brattleboro, Vermont USA

Aug 222011
 

At the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann inaugural meeting in September 1951 it was decided to create a national festival, . Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann ((Festival of Music in Ireland)) is the second biggest festival in Ireland. Sessions, fun-days, pageants, marching bands, competitions, ceili bands, concerts, singing, busking, exhibitions and the arts are all part of the biggest celebration of Irish culture in the world.

Elvie Miller

Elvie Miller

The goal of the Fleadh Cheoil is to establish standards in Irish traditional music through competition. The Fleadh has developed as a mainly competitive event, but also showcases concerts, céilithe, parades, pageants, and street sessions.

The Fleadhanna at each level provide a platform and a meeting place for over 10,000 musicians, who carry on the tradition of playing and cherishing Irish music, songs, and dances.

And when the competitions are over, many impromptu sessions take place which sometimes last until the early hours.

Elvie Miller, daughter of fiddler Rodney Miller, won first place for piano accompaniment in the adult division. Note that Rodney will be featured at the September Nelson Contra Dance on 9/10/11.

 Posted by on August 22, 2011 at 12:00 am  Tagged with:
Jul 282011
 

By Christopher Hislop
July 25, 2011 1:52 PM

When I heard that Bill Morrissey had died July 23, I was stricken with grief and felt a void in my heart. The idea that I’d never again be able to venture up that great hill in Newmarket, to the top of those stairs and through those burly wooden doors to see Bill on the Stone Church stage singing his songs was a feeling I couldn’t seem to digest. Probably never will.

Read the rest of the article at Seacoast Online

 Posted by on July 28, 2011 at 11:04 am
Jul 042011
 

Yes, we will dance in Nelson on the Fourth of July. And here’s a story about another Independence Day dance, thanks to folklorist Fred Field.

THE FOURTH OF JULY IN JONESVILLE IN 1833.

The anniversary of our national independence was not forgotten by the early dwellers here, and although at the above date no very extensive “celebration” could be held, yet the scattering population met for a royal good time at the then infant village, and enjoyed themselves to the utmost. A dance was held at Jones’ tavern—the old “Fayette House,”—and from far and near came the patriotic settlers to indulge in the pleasures of the occasion. A certain man, who lived eleven miles away, was there with “his girl,” anticipating a rare treat in measuring time with their feet to the tones of dulcet music which was to be furnished by parties who had been especially engaged to play here on that night. To the disappointment of everybody, the expected musicians failed to put in an appearance, and “gloom was depicted on every countenance.” By some mysterious legerdemain, however, a violin was unearthed, and it was known that our eleven-mile man could play it. Then the faces in the assemblage brightened; the hero of the bow and rosin mounted a chair-back in order to have plenty of elbow room, and the fun began. The well-known notes of ” Money Musk,” “Scotch reel,” ” French four,” and other lively airs, swelled forth upon the summer air as with magic touch the musician plied his bow, and “joy was unconfined.” The feet of the dancers were light, their hearts ditto, and with the passing hours the assemblage continued their evolutions till the gray dawn bade them desist and seek their homes.

 Posted by on July 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm
Jun 052011
 

The dance in chapter 9:

“To good to be true! To good to be true!” sang Scarlett’s joyful heart as she slipped unobtrusively into the pink- and yellow-draped booth that was to have been the McLure girls’. Actually she was at a party! After a year’s seclusion, after crepe and hushed voices and nearly going crazy with boredom, she was actually at a party, the biggest party Atlanta had ever seen. And she could see people and many lights and hear music and view for herself the lovely laces and frocks and frills that the famous Captain Butler had run through the blockade on his last trip.
She sank down on one of the little stools behind the counter of the booth and looked up and down the long hall which, until this afternoon, had been a bare and ugly drill room. How the ladies must have worked today to bring it to its present beauty. It looked lovely. Every candle and candlestick in Atlanta must be in this hall tonight, she thought, silver ones with a dozen sprangling arms, china ones with charming figurines clustering their bases, old brass stands, erect and dignified, laden with candles of all sizes and colors, smelling fragrantly of bayberries, standing on the gun racks that ran the length of the hall, on the long flower-decked tables, on booth counters, even on the sills of the open windows where the draughts of warm summer air were just strong enough to make them flare.
In the center of the hall the huge ugly lamp, hanging from the ceiling by rusty chains, was completely transformed by twining ivy and wild grapevines that were already withering from the heat. The walls were banked with pine branches that gave out a spicy smell, making the corners of the room into pretty bowers where the chaperons and old ladies would sit. Long graceful ropes of ivy and grapevine and smilax were hung everywhere, in looping festoons on the walls, draped above the windows, twined in scallops all over the brightly colored cheesecloth booths. And everywhere amid the greenery, on flags and bunting, blazed the bright stars of the Confederacy on their background of red and blue. Continue reading »

 Posted by on June 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm
May 212011
 

Irish Set dancing is a popular country folk-dance style from the 1800s. The “set” consists of four couples in a circle, resembling square dancing. The dance itself is typically composed of 4 to 6 figures, which are distinct movements danced to individual pieces of traditional Irish music. The movements in a figure are in a specific sequence and are danced in order. One set dance usually takes about 15 minutes to dance. Set dancing is not step dancing (as in Riverdance), which is a common misunderstanding, and is less formal than ceili dancing.

Set dancing is a lively, energetic form of dance and has a rigorous, aerobic quality. No prior experience necessary, nor a partner to participate — just a pair of smooth-soled shoes and a water bottle! Set dancing is a community-oriented dance ; couples swing, chain, house, hold hands – again, similar to square dancing and contra. Dancing can be magical and transforming. It’s a simple pleasure than can breathe new life into a tired soul, make a spirit soar, unleash creativity, unite generations and cultures, reduce stress, teach us to laugh, and turn sadness into joy. On a more physical level, dancing provides for a great mind-body workout. Research has shown that physical activity helps keep your body healthy, but the added advantage of dancing is that it requires you to remember dance steps and sequences, which boosts brain power and memory skills.

The class is for adults and is held Friday nights, 7-9PM, at the Durham Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, 20 Madbury Road, Durham, NH. Fee is $5/person. Please check website www.seacoastsetdancers.org to confirm class, as they sometimes have to make changes to venue when the hall is unavailable. The website also has video links and study notes so you can get an idea what set dancing looks like, plus directions, parking, and info on what to bring. Also, feel free to contact Sue Dunlavey for more information at 603-749-1038, sue@seacoastsetdancers.org.

Sue Dunlavey, Dover, NH – began set dancing in 2000. She has taken lessons from Frank & Denise Holt (Pearl River, NY), Brendan & Glenda Brown (Buffalo, NY), Timmy McCarthy (England), Patrick O’Dea (Ireland), Pat Branigan (NJ/Ireland), Bruce Olens (NJ), Bridie & John DalPizzal (NJ/Ireland), Tony Ryan (Ireland), Anne McCallum (Canada), Kathleen Collins (NY), Regina Delaney (Exeter), Padraig & Roisin McEneaney (Ireland), Aidan Vaughan (Ireland), and Mick Mulkerrin & Maraid Casey (Ireland). She has taught set dancing to both adults and teenagers in NJ and NH. Sue often attends monthly set dances/ceilis run by Comhaltas and the Ancient Hiberians in Boston, conventions and weekend workshops, local ceilis held in homes, and attends a week-long intensive set dancing class every year. Sue has participated in several set dancing demonstrations, typically around St Patrick’s Day. She has danced 90 different set dances in the time she has been dancing. Sue is a member of the Seacoast Irish Cultural Association.