Dec 102010

On November 30, 2010, Mary DesRosiers’ home burned to the ground. Luckily, no one was home at the time, but she has lost everything.

Donations should be sent to
Community Church of Harrisville/Chesham
Canal Street, Harrisville, NH 03450
Please indicate designation to Mary DesRosiers

The February Peterborough Dance will be a Benefit for Mary. Look for details here.

A Facebook page has been set up to document items she needs and to plan for several benefit events. Click here or search for “Mary DesRosiers” in Facebook.

Nov 212010

Welcome Spring in style
with weekend performances
throughout the Monadnock Region and New England!

Come join the living Morris tradition!
Become a part of the greater Morris community.

Groups of dancers join together to celebrate, dance and
sing. Meet musicians and dancers from the region, the
nation, and the world at Morris gatherings.

Can you commit to be a practice musician Monday nights
during the school year in Harrisville, NH.? 6:30-8pm *

Loud melody instruments preferred
such as (but not necessarily limited to) concertina, accordion and fiddle

Curious? Interested? We’d like to meet you!

Please contact Elizabeth Field

(What is Morris? Visit

*Please be aware dancers and musicians volunteer their time.

Harrisville Morris Women Logo

 Posted by on November 21, 2010 at 8:40 pm
Oct 112010

The Nelson, NH Monday Night Contra Dance is canceled November 1st. The town of Nelson requires the space in preparation for the election to be held the next day.

The Nelson dance has been held every Monday for the past 25 years, except for natural disasters such as the ice storm of 2008. The dance is well known for its community spirit, volunteer performers and excellent cookies. Dancers of all ages and backgrounds come from near and far. All are welcome.

While the hall will be dark on November 1st, the dance will continue as always the following Monday, November 8th. For more information call 603.762.0235 or visit

Aug 082010

A western caller, Fred Feild, came across this in the March 1941 Recreation Magazine. The overall article is called “The Square Dance Goes to College.” After talking about the University of North Carolina it says this:

At John Gould Goddard College in Vermont

Assisted by teachers from the Washington County Folk Dance Association, young Vermonters study the old country dances at a mid-winter school at Goddard College.

Skiing in Vermont’s snow-covered hills and old-time dancing were friendly rivals for popular favor immediately after Christmas when the Washington County Folk Dance Association brought its summer activities up to date with a three-day school of country dances at Goddard College. And the same spirit pervaded the school as that which prevailed at the annual Vermont Folk Dance Festival in August on the college campus in Plainfield.

The city ballrooms of the nation have lately adopted country dancing with all the vigor of a new-found diversion, but to this group in Vermont folk dancing is something as old as the early “pitches” when settlers first brought cows into the Winooski valley. And since the attendance at the school turned out to be better than half school-age youngsters, it is likely that the country dances will remain a form of Saturday night recreation throughout Vermont long after city folks have taken up some new idea.

Vermont has a set of country dance traditions all its own, and several intricate dances unknown to the rest of the nation. To keep these traditions safe, the Washington County group organized many years ago for the purpose of searching out techniques and teaching them to other groups gathered solely for amusement. When the group heard that the folks down in Chelsea had a different twist on the promenade forward of a Boston Fancy, they sent someone down, and now the Chelsea tradition is known throught Vermont. During the year the group stands ready to send teachers, equipped with phonograph records and source material, anywhere in Vermont to teach country dancing – a free service that arises from a genuine love for the dance.

Throughout the year the group has bi-weekly dances at some small hall or farmhouse in Washington County, where the program is part recreation, part study. Every summer they call out competing teams from all over the state, and the lawn tennis court at Goddard College is the stage where men in white trousers and girls in peasant skirts and aprons strive to win the big silver cup. A couple of thousand Vermonters and summer visitors come to watch and applaud Money Musk, Hull’s Victory, Merry Merry Milkmaids, and dozens of similar dances done in the correct Vermont fashion.

Last summer the rising interest in this form of dance brought many out-of-staters, and Goddard College followed this success with the offer to sponsor a winter school with dormitory facilities for those coming from a distance. Emerson Lang of Danville directed the school, and its success assures annual repetitions.

Last night in Nelson, we danced a tremendous Money Musk to Dudley Laufman’s calling and the joyful accompaniment of four fiddles (Jacqueline Laufman, Dudley, Hunt Smith, and Sophie Orzechowski) and piano (Neil Orzechowski). Young and old, those who know the dance by heart, those doing it for the first time, we moved to the same notes and rhythms as the thousands who have danced before us. A good time was had by all.

Jul 232010

The Folklore Society has been on summer break, after a busy Fall, Winter and Spring season that saw many dances, concerts, and local celebrations. We’re gearing up for the coming Autumn and promise many fine events. Of course, the Nelson Monday Dance continues to create its magic every week, whether the Society is resting or not.

One item of note: The Nelson Second Saturday Dance will be held on the First Saturday in August: 8/7. Old Home Day happens to fall on the second Saturday this year, and therefore there are many reasons to move the dance forward by one week. Dudley and Jacqueline Laufman will provide music and calling for what’s become an August tradition just before Old Home Week. As has been true for many years, there will not be a Peterborough contra dance on the first Saturday in August while Monadnock Music takes over the Peterborough Town Hall.

If there are writers in our audience who would like to publish essays related to local folklore on this web site, please contact us:

 Posted by on July 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm
May 082010
Old New England: Deanna Stiles, Bob McQuillen, Jane Orzechowski

Old New England: Deanna Stiles, Bob McQuillen, Jane Orzechowski

ONE IV is the newly released recording from Old New England, which is Jane Orzechowski on fiddle, Deanna Stiles on flute, piccolo and fiddle, and Bob McQuillen on piano and accordion.  As one might expect, the arrangements are fairly  straightforward, and the orchestration does not employ the rhythmical gymnastics and melodic pyrotechnics that are increasingly common with recordings of dance music. In the hands of less capable musicians that might make for tedious listening, but not only is this recording a total pleasure to listen to – I personally think it represents the best album yet from this trio.

Some of the appeal is achieved through understatement. An example of that appears in the first set. It starts with “Jack Beard’s Jig”, moves on to “Dr. Becky’s”, and then after a switch to “Martha’s Hornpipe”, I gradually realized the time signature had changed from 6/8 to 4/4. This is a common trick among contra dance musicians, but it is usually rendered with a bit of a flourish. Here it was a like a subtle but refreshing change of scenery on a drive down a winding country road. Continue reading »

Apr 032010

mud2In spite of the massive flooding that’s been reported throughout New England recently, there hasn’t been much of a mud season this year. One theory is that the mud has all been shipped down to Washington DC, where it is being slung vigorously across the aisles of Congress. But further research shows that the material being used there is actually another type of organic matter having to do with the male bovine.

Here in Nelson most of our roads are unpaved. I recently complained to the Selectmen: without a few days of don’t-bother-to-steer, up-to-your-axles-in-mud driving, we are deprived of experiences that reinforce our robust rural character. What’s a country boy to do? Continue reading »

Mar 162010

Madame Ax (Jon Brooks)

New Hampshire Furniture Masters will host a benefit concert Saturday, April 3, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord. The concert, “Rise Up! Out of the Ashes,” will raise money for the Jon Brooks New Studio Project. Brooks, a furniture maker and sculptor who is a New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Lifetime Fellow, lost his New Boston studio in a January fire.

The concert will feature music by Jon’s friends in three bands: Celticladda, Swing a Cat, and The Moores. To purchase tickets, which are $25 each, visit To make a donation to the Jon Brooks New Studio Project, visit

 Posted by on March 16, 2010 at 6:31 am
Mar 102010

treeNovember in New England, dark gray trees silhouetted against stark gray skies – there’s something invigorating in the vision, as if we are storing up energy for the winter ahead. Come March and the image is wearying. We strain to see the tree tips showing a hint of red, and our own energy stores  are depleted. But, like the maple trees, there is within us some sweetness which, properly tapped, will nurture us into the spring.

There’s a bit of folklore that once upon a time maple trees provided thick maple syrup year round. The People became complacent, neglecting their crops and community, and indulged themselves by lying beneath dripping maples with opened mouths. Glooskap (variously the son of Mother earth, or the first man, or the man from nothing) came across this situation and decided to force a modification of behavior. He diluted the syrup with water from the river, and made it so the sap would flow only once a year, forcing the People resuming a more structured existence of hunting, fishing, and growing crops. Continue reading »

Mar 012010

Here’s another opportunity to hear and support young traditional musicians. The deadline for performers to apply is mid-April.

*Young Tradition Showcase Contest*

The annual Showcase Contest at Waterfront Park in Burlington, Vermont is a
primary focus of the annual Young Tradition Weekend. The program for the
contest starts in the mid/late morning on 5/15/10 and finishes by 3pm,
running simultaneously with Kids Day at Waterfront Park. It is designed so
that young singers, players and dancers (25 years old and younger) in
single, duo or group formats can perform 2 or 3 numbers. Participation is
not limited to Vermonters.

Prizes include showcase performances at a variety of concerts, festivals,
coffeehouses and tours, cash ($500 for 1st, $250 for 2nd and $125 for 3rd),
$1000 in scholarships, and more. There are no judges for the contest and
all styles and genres that fit under the ‘folk and traditional’ umbrella are
welcome. There is time for about 20 ‘acts’ and we strive to make sure that
what is presented at the contest is either directly related or inspired by
what is generally considered folk and traditional music or dance….. if you
think it fits, there is a good chance that it does.

Prospective performers who have not participated in the past are asked to
submit an audio and/or video sample. Samples will be returned if
self-addressed, postage-paid packaging is included with the
application. Samples should be e-mailed to
Vermont Traditions

or mailed to:
Young Tradition Vermont
PO Box 163
Fairfax, VT 05454.

We strive for balance in the genres
presented, the instruments used, and the traditions presented, etc. (e.g. we
try to not have just fiddlers, just dancers, just singers, etc.).

Contact Mark Sustic, PO Box 163, Fairfax, VT 05454

 Posted by on March 1, 2010 at 9:25 am  Tagged with: ,