The Monadnock area is well-known as being the home to many celebrated professional musicians in the New England Fiddle and dance music genre. But what really makes our region rich are the numbers of folk who play, largely for their own pleasure, out of sheer love for the tunes. In any given week there are numerous gatherings, often in private homes, with fiddles, guitars, mandolins, flutes, banjos, and – well just about anything goes. Many of these gatherings are semi private – that is to say, if you know someone who goes regularly, you might get invited, but the event is not highly publicized, largely because of space considerations.
Among the more public sessions: on Monday night there is the “Baby Band”, where a dozen or so musicians of varying skill gather for an hour before the contra dance in the Nelson Town Hall. The repertoire is based on an ever-expanding photo-copied hand out, the Portland Collection, The New England Fiddler’s Repertoire, and the Waltz books. It’s a round robin affair, with each player requesting a specific tune (and sometimes introducing “new” ones). Hilliare Wilder is fixed at the piano (to provide consistent accompaniment). Lisa Sieverts “moderates” the session, making sure newcomers feel welcome, and generally keeping things on track. Continue reading »