Living History Program on Ralph Page, Dean of American Folk Dancing
On Monday, February 25th at 7:00 pm the Historical Society of Cheshire County will feature a living history presentation in which Adam Boyce will portray Ralph Page, the Dean of American Folk Dancing. Ralph Page was born in the Munsonville section of Nelson, New Hampshire and he came to be remembered for his role in the revival of traditional folk dancing in America. Generations of Cheshire County residents followed Ralph Page around the Monadnock region to the dances that he called, and more than a few couples who met at his dances have been married now for over fifty years.
Accompanied by live and recorded music, Adam Boyce will share Page’s recollections and sometimes blunt but colorful commentaries on the “progress” of folk dancing. The program is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by a grant from the Arizona Humanities Council. Adam Boyce, a ten generation Vermonter, is a fiddler, composer, piano player, contra dance promoter and square dance caller. As a Humanities Scholar he has also done presentations on fiddle contests in New England and Charles Ross Taggart, the Old Country Fiddler.
Ralph Page called his first dance as a last minute substitute with no previous training. This experience would launch him into a 54-year career as a professional caller and dance teacher. He became an internationally-recognized authority on New England folk dancing and its traditions. A musician, composer and folklorist, Page authored several books on dance and music history, in addition to publishing his own monthly magazine Northern Junket for 34 years.
Ralph Page served as president of the Historical Association of Cheshire County for 15 years, and his considerable research on local history, folklore, and dance history added volumes to our knowledge of the Monadnock region. It is fitting that he will “return” to the Historical Society as portrayed by Adam Boyce. It will be an opportunity to learn about a local icon and an evening of fond memories for people who knew him. The event will take place in the Historical Society’s exhibit hall at 246 Main Street in Keene.
The Historical Society of Cheshire County was founded in 1927 and is committed to collecting, preserving, and communicating the history of Cheshire County. For more information, call 603-352-1895 or log onto www.hsccnh.org.