Nov 262014

From Steve:

I am sorry to say that we have decided we need to cancel this evening’s Peterborough Thanksgiving eve dance… I believe a first in our 28 years of doing it!
While nothing is actually falling from the sky as I write this, the forecast is pretty convincing. All of the performers hail from exactly the zone that is forecast to have the most snow, with the heaviest accumulation coming during the pre-dance travel hours (and still to be snowing at dance’s end)
I am sad because this is always my favorite dance of the year…and with the awesome band we had on tap this year was to be no exception. But best for all of us to be safe, and plan to dance together again another day.
Please help us out by letting friends know about this, it is hard to reach everybody with a last minute change.
Have a safe and happy holiday all,

 Posted by on November 26, 2014 at 10:44 am
Sep 222014
December 5, 2014
8:00 pmto10:30 pm

NSWC portrait

Monadnock Folklore Society’s annual presentation of this seasonal favorite!  Absolutely the best way to start your holiday season. Music, dance, a mummer’s play and delicious treats!

Dublin Community Church

Friday, December 5, 2014

8:00 pm

Admission $15/$12(Sr/Jr or in advance)

Nowell Sing We Clear with its unusual songs, carols, stories, and customs has toured every year since 1975. Drawn mostly from English-language folk traditions, the songs tell both a version of the events and characters involved in the Christmas story and detail the customs which make up the twelve magical days following the return of the light at the winter solstice. Many of these ancient customs are the basis of the today’s holiday traditions, such as visiting and feasting, gift-giving, carol singing from door-to-door and the adorning of houses and churches with garlands of evergreen.

Nowell Sing We Clear celebrates Christmas as it was known for centuries in Britain and North America and as it continues in many places to the present.  The songs come from an age when the midwinter season was a time for joyous celebration and vigorous expression of older, perhaps pagan, religious ideas. There is not always a clear line between these and the rejoicing at the birth of Jesus bringing a fresh light into the world at this dark midwinter time. A special and unusual treat is the enactment of a Mummers Play from Kentucky.  Performed in the traditional manner, the play is typical of folk dramas which survive to this day throughout Britain and North America symbolizing and portraying the death of the land at midwinter and its subsequent rebirth in the spring.

While much of the singing is done in unaccompanied style, the pageant is also stamped with the energetic dance band sound of fiddle, button accordion, electric piano, drums, and concertina.  The audience will be supplied with song sheets and encouraged to sing along, though after three decades of touring in New England, a whole generation of young people have grown up with these songs and carols and sing along with as much as they can. Some “new”, that is “different”, songs and carols are introduced every year.  Performers are John Roberts and Tony Barrand, widely known for their lively presentations of English folk songs, and Fred Breunig and Andy Davis, well known in New England as dance callers and musicians.

Nowell Sing We Clear has become a regular part of some communities on the Eastern seaboard.This year the ensemble will be playing as far south as West Chester, PA, and as far north as Brattleboro, VT.   The group has several recordings of songs from the show which have been popular items in many households at this time of year. Their CDs are drawn from songs learned for their concerts: The newest is Nowell, Nowell, Nowell. Others are Just Say Nowell, Hail Smiling Morn (which has a cover designed by famous Vermont artist, Mary Azarian), Nowell SingWe Four,  and Nowell, Nowell, Nowell. The first three LP recordings are all well represented on a compact disk, The Best of Nowell: 1976 – 1985 All recordings are available from Golden Hind Records.

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 September 22, 2014 at 10:01 pm
Nov 022014

The Monday Contra Dance returns to Nelson WEST for one night only, Monday, November 3rd, due to the election being held in the Nelson Town Hall.

8-10:30 PM
Heberton Hall, 76 Winter Street, next to the Keene Library.

 Posted by on November 2, 2014 at 11:34 am
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

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 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 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