Purpose and Background of Scholarship
The Johnny Trombly Memorial Scholarship was established by the Monadnock Folklore Society in 2001, at the request of Bob McQuillen who provided an initial endowment. Named in honor of Bob’s mentor, the Scholarship is awarded to individuals who would like to study traditional New England contra dance music. Preference will be given to those applicants age 18 and under, living in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire.
The scholarship provides funds for students to use for lessons, mentoring, music and dance camps, etc. The money is intended to be used directly for fees related to these opportunities, not for music, instruments, or other tangible items. In considering applications, the MFS board is open to creative ideas within these parameters.
Quarterly scholarships will be awarded until the annual scholarship fund is exhausted.
Students who are interested in applying for the Scholarship are encouraged to contact the Monadnock Folklore Society for an informal discussion so that we can answer any further questions you have, and facilitate a more effective application.
The quarterly application period deadlines are April 1st, July 1st, October 1st, and January 1st of each year. Click here to obtain the scholarship application.
Past recipients of the Johnny Trombly Memorial Scholarship
Johnny Trombly (sitting, left, in photo, with Ralph Page) was a self-taught piano player from Marlborough, New Hampshire, whose playing style was informed by the French Canadian community in which he was raised. He lived in Marlborough all his life; after working in a factory during the day, he would return to the house that he shared with his sister and brother-in-law. Except for band gigs, Johnny rarely ventured far. Since he never learned to drive, he depended on fellow band members for rides to and from dances. For many years, Trombly played piano for Ralph Page, one of the best-known dance callers in the region, and a national authority on contra dancing. From this “funny little man” came the piano playing style that musicians still praise and emulate today. Bob McQuillen first met Trombly at Ralph Page’s dances, which Bob attended regularly. At the time, McQuillen was playing accordion and in 1947 Page invited McQuillen to join the Ralph Page Orchestra with his “squeezebox.” About 20 years after first joining Page’s orchestra with his accordion, McQuillen played his first dance as a piano player, and he has been doing it ever since. He credits much of his style to Trombly’s influence. Over the years he incorporated some of Trombly’s trademark embellishments into his own playing and has passed them on to his own apprentices.