It is customary for the January column of any publication or blog to offer some retrospective on the year gone by. We will forego that exercise, but will point out that the structure of this web site allows you to scroll down to previous month’s articles, and when you get to the bottom of those displayed, there is a “previous entries” tab which will take you back to the beginning. Explore.
What we will do this month is go further back in time. The very first MFS “newsletter” was published in November/December of 1981. It included a calendar listing for those two months, and a couple of things are worth noting. One is that Nowell (spelled incorrectly in the calendar) Sing We Clear was produced in the Dublin Church, and this past December (this time with the correct spelling) this same event appeared on the MFS calendar (if memory serves, Nowell in 1981 was produced by Steve Avery, who was the proprietor of Deacon Brodie’s Tavern in Dublin). The other is that the same evening Stan Rogers was finishing a three-night stand at the Folkway in Peterborough, Gordon Bok was playing in Nelson. These two musicians had some things in common, including deep resonate voices, and many songs having to do with the sea. The two giants met for the first time at a house party in Nelson following their respective concerts, and we were fortunate to be there and witness a hearty embrace.
There is no extant edition of a January 1982 issue, but looking at February, please make a mental note of Guy Van Duser & Billy Novick, and Lui Collins, playing at the Folkway (and hold that thought for a couple of paragraphs). Then moving ahead to January of 1983, we have a very impressive list of musicians playing in the region, and now make special note of Bill Staines at the Folkway.
The last MFS newsletter was published in February of 1983, and it contained several articles in celebration of the 8th anniversary of the Folkway. Though the Folkway closed permanently in 1996, it remains alive in the minds and hearts of people throughout the Monadnock Region. One such person was Jim van Valkenburg, who is on the Board of the Peterborough Historical Society. Over the last several months Jim has spearheaded an enormous project in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Folkway. “The Folkway Remembered” will include a 6-month exhibit at the Historical Society, and a concert series that starts on January 22 with Claudia Schmidt and continues with, among other luminaries, the aforementioned Guy, Billy, Lui, and Bill.
The Monadnock Folklore Society, and the Peterborough Folk Music Society, are proud to be co-sponsors of the concert series. For more details about this (and for tickets, which are already selling briskly) please visit the Peterborough Historical Society web site. To view PDFs of the old MFS newsletters, including the special Folkway issue, go to the Newsletter Archive page.
And, in a final burst of looking back, here is an ad that appeared in that last newsletter for the Wide World of Cheese in Peterborough. That store later evolved into Harlow’s, which is now a local hot spot for great food and music, and where some of the original Folkway tables are still in use.
Now, looking out for the future, several years ago Bob McQuillen was generous enough to initiate a scholarship in the name of his piano-player mentor, Johnny Trombley. This is an annual award that goes to a person under the age of 18 for the purpose of studying traditional New England dance music. Last year’s winner, Perin Ellsworth-Heller of Keene, NH was able to attend Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp with this scholarship. Applications are now being accepted, through March 15th, for this year’s scholarship. For more details on the program, visit the Johnny Trombley Memorial Scholarship page of this website. To download this year’s application form, click here.
Other upcoming events to note: the fabulous Snow Ball in the Peterborough Town House on January 23, and a sure-to-be lively concert with Annalivia on February 5th in the Nelson Town Hall. And as always, contra dances n the first Saturday of every month in Peterborough, and the second Saturday in Nelson.