The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2011 Governors Arts Awards. Awardees will be honored at a ceremony at the Governor and Executive Council Chambers on April 27, 2011.
Folk Heritage Award: Sylvia Miskoe, traditional musician and dancer. Miskoe’s contributions to our state’s musical lore, particularly Scottish, French-Canadian and New England Contra-dancing, are legendary in New Hampshire and beyond. Sylvia joins an illustrious group of prior Folk Heritage honorees, including Bob McQuillen, Dudley Laufman, and Harvey Tolman.
In Seattle, she will be honored at the 5th Saturday dance. Her friend and mentee, Phil Katz, forwards the following: There will be a brief special tribute to tradition, probably before one of the individual dances starts up. Two of Phil Katz’ original mentors in contra dance music are celebrating significant milestones back in New Hampshire the week of April 30. Musician/caller Dudley Laufman will be celebrating his 80th birthday April 30. It was Dudley’s band – Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra (CCDO), with Dudley calling, that was a major force in saving contra dancing and its music from dying off in the “tv generation”, and carrying it onwards to students and young adults in New England during the late 1960’s/early 70’s. Phil heard the CCDO at at festivals in New York State in 1976/1978 and has been doing this music ever since. Accordion player Sylvia Miskoe, of Concord NH, was the first musician to invite me onstage to sit-in, playing for dancers; the Canterbury Town Hall in 1978. She’s organized and played in “The White Cockade” for contras and Scottish country dances for over 30 years, called dances, and done a long list of musical organizing. On April 27 she will receive the New Hampshire Governor’s Award for the Traditional Arts, awarded to one person every two years. Tradition is passed on from actual individuals to others; we will take a minute to pay tribute to two who were significant in starting us, here in the Northwest.