On Sunday, July 15, a Monadnock Lyceum was held at the Unitarian Church in Peterboro, NH. All the pews were full for the event, a presentation of Monadnock Region music, particularly square and contra dance music, and Bob McQuillen’s part in it, which has been and still is big. Gordon Peery of Nelson and the Monadnock Folk Lore Society put the show together. Gordon gave a good talk on the history of contra and social dancing . Then Old New England, Bob Mcquillen’s band, himself, Jane Orzechowski, and Deanna Stiles, on flute, fiddles and piano, played some selections of jigs, reels, hornpipes, marches and waltzes, some of them Bob’s own compositions. In the balcony, thirty musicians, all influenced by Bob, or, even influenced him, waited for the four potatoes, and, playing Jimmy Allen in unison on fiddles, accordions, concertinas, banjos and flutes, they processed, youngest first, oldest (me) last down the stairs and up the aisle to fan out across the alter. Then they played Amelia’s Waltz, on DDog.
This accordion player is a laughing fellow
with steel gray hair, bribing the bellows.
He coaxes and listens to the Irish in it,
falls of water, hills of granite,
weather brown barns, evergreen tree.
He roars with laughter & slaps his knee,
His music blends with the fiddle man,
the caller, the piano, the summer dancers
with taps on their shoes, fresh from the farms,
the woolen mills.
He tattooed his arms.
Looks like he’s taking a nap on his box,
but what he is doing is coaxing talk,
getting it going like a spinning top,
you can hear it out in the parking lot.
– Dudley Laufman