Seasonal Music and Story-Telling to Warm Your Heart
Tony Barrand was born in England in 1945 but has lived most of his life in southern Vermont in the vibrant town of Brattleboro—a place that shines all the more brightly because of him. This Cornell PhD and Professor Emeritus of Boston University is not just an academic, but also a singer, dancer, and story-teller.
Tony Barrand offers stories of his mentors and mentees, as well as plenty of music and intriguing tales about seasonal carols. You’ll hear the best Christmas carols you’ve never heard of and will never forget. Guaranteed to brighten your days during this darkest time of year.
Listen for free with this link: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1278755/7001557-tony-barrand-sing-me-a-story-dance-me-a-song
On Saturday, December 19, 2020, we published our Annual Solstice Party as a collection of YouTube videos. The Monadnock Folklore Society produces this community event every year, and this year we’ll forego the admission and the dessert potluck will be DIY.
In 2019, we had more interest in this event than the Nelson Town Hall could accommodate and many people were turned away at the door. Here is the 2019 Holiday Concert featuring a selection of traditional and original seasonal music performed by The Solstice Sisters (Alouette Iselin, Melanie Everard, Kim Wallach, & Heather Bower) and friends including a performance by our Johnny Trombly Scholarship recipient.
After the concert, the chairs and benches are usually cleared to make way for a traditional New England Contradance. Unfortunately, or not, the dance is often interrupted by various groups of unsavory characters presenting their idea of seasonal entertainment. These diversions, sometimes involving costumed individuals making complete fools of themselves or performing ancient ritual dances to help us through this dark time of the year, are generally tolerated as once they are applauded and fed we can return to dancing the night away. Last year we had to endure this 2019 Mummer’s Play.
Due to our current circumstances, we are not able to host this event in the traditional manner but we have managed to collect some video performances including Kim’s solo version of the Nelson Wassail and our 2020 Mummer’s Play.
You may also be interested in these videos from previous Solstice concerts:
https://youtu.be/ytHSRV510Ns – harp and hammer dulcimer
https://youtu.be/zvGHVqDU7HY – Green Grows the Holly
https://youtu.be/wdU3NBlvfQY – Let This Be My Prayer
https://youtu.be/sAGjuTFUDMY – Traveler’s Prayer
https://youtu.be/tKWgGlcVlyo Wassail the Silver Apple
https://youtu.be/4A3guUyKzUk Comfort of Singing Voices
https://youtu.be/0pazXEjvM34 Keep Me Warm Medley
https://youtu.be/5OZEnsU_ICg Children Go Where I Send Thee
https://youtu.be/BlWzz27AQso Walking in the Air
Music and Dance in the Nelson Town Hall — The Myth, the Magic, the Truth
With Lisa Sieverts and Gordon Peery
A program of the Olivia Rodham Memorial Library.
From Callers David Millstone and David Smukler:
In November of 2020, David Millstone and I sent out a call for stories about Ted Sannella to mark the 25th anniversary of his death on November 18. There was a terrific response, and we are proud to announce a new website, Sannella Stories, where these memories are shared. Nearly 70 people sent in their “Sannella Story.” These range from serious to silly and include brief acknowledgments and more extended entries.
In addition, we’ve assembled a collection of photographs, audio files, and videos. You’ll also find dances and tunes that were written for Ted, an index of all his dances, and links to other sites with information of interest.
Of course, it’s still possible to add to this collection; you’ll find that link on the site as well.
The two of us will be presenting a short “Ted Talk” as part of the virtual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend, an event scheduled for Sunday afternoon, January 17. Details are still being arranged, but updated information will be available at the RPDLW site.
Our sincere thanks to the many people who contributed and in this way are helping to keep alive the memory of a major figure in the world of New England traditional dance.
Lynn Arnold has written a new song
Still We Will Dance
It starts out unexpectedly; the catching of an eye;
A simple question posed by one, the other’s quick reply.
You’ll never guess how much can change, from just that first glance—
A seed is planted with the words, “May I have this dance.”
The seasons turn, the years go by, and so we dance along;
Sometimes the rhythm’s hard to find, sometimes the beat is strong.
The steps may change, the tempo slow, by choice or by chance;
We may not know what lies ahead, but still we will dance.
In early days, it’s hard to know just where a dance might go.
Though tempted to rush through the steps, we keep the rhythm slow.
The future calls, we both agree that we’ll take the chance
And promise to be partners for a lifetime of dance.
A partnership must be a dance in order to succeed.
Sometimes I slip, you hold me up, sometimes I take the lead.
If, through whatever time we have that good fortune grants,
We move together, not against, we can’t help but dance.
A dance may be a waltz or jig, or something like a walk.
As we grow old, it may just be the times we sit and talk.
The dance evolves; it doesn’t mean the end of romance—
We carry on, in our own way, continue to dance.
Life has a rhythm all its own, in all the tunes it plays,
The opportunities to dance a constant through our days.
To live a life that satisfies, fulfills, and enchants,
Just listen for the music and remember to dance.
Words and music by Lynn Arnold © 2020
Audio of the Melody, arranged by Carol Compton
Check out these calendars for other online sessions in North America and the UK. Please contact each individual event (not the calendar owners) for schedule and login information and introduce yourself directly to the host(s).
Please consider helping Annemieke and Jeremiah McLane, two beloved musicians in Vermont.
As you may have heard, the McLane family – Annemieke, Jeremiah, and Luke – lost their home to fire in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Thankfully the family was not home and are all safe.
In the days ahead, there will likely be many ways to lend a hand, however, an immediate need will be money. The United Church of Strafford’s Deacons Fund and the McLane’s family and friends have come together to form the McLane Recovery Fund through Mascoma Bank. If you would like to contribute to this fund, please make checks payable to:
McLane Recovery Fund
And send to:
United Church of Strafford Deacons
PO Box 124
Strafford VT 05072
A recording from a Monday Night in Nelson, February 3, 2020
- Lady Walpole’s Reel, called by Rich Hart, played by Harvey Tolman, fiddle, and Lloyd Carr, piano
- Money Musk, called by Don Primrose, played by Harvey Tolman, fiddle, and Lloyd Carr, piano
- Dog Branch Reel, called by Rich Hart, played by Harvey Tolman, fiddle, and Lloyd Carr, piano
- Chorus Jig, called by Chris Salmon, played by Roger Treat, fiddle, and Lloyd Carr, piano
- Al’s Safeway Produce, called by Chris Salmon, played by Roger Treat, fiddle, and Lloyd Carr, piano
- Simplicity Swing, called by Peter Kingsley, played by Roger Treat, fiddle, and Lloyd Carr, piano
- Solstice Special, called by Peter Kingsley, played by Roger Treat, fiddle, and Lloyd Carr, piano
- Heartbeat Contra, called by Rich Hart, played by Nat Backes and Hilliare Wilder, harmonica
- Waltz, played by Nat Backes, Hilliare Wilder and Joe Sykes
Looking for something to do during this time of no dancing? It’s a good time to read this great book, recently reissued.
New Edition of A Time to Dance: American Country Dancing from Hornpipes to Hot Hash by Richard Nevell; original edition 1977 St Martin’s Press, new edition 2017 Bauhan Publishing.
Plus two Films: Country Corners and Full of Life A-Dancin’ Produced By Richard Nevell and Robert Fiore, back in print on one DVD with an additional portrait of legendary tune writer and musician, the late Bob McQuillen.
“I love this book! In A Time to Dance I like that there are different styles of dancing in different parts of North America, be it Southern Appalachia, New Hampshire, Quebec, Cape Breton. Dancer Daron Douglas says “There is a certain amount of courting at these dances” That is important. The book is free of academics. In Country Corners, it is nice to see The Ed Larkin folks dancing Chorus Jig the old way without the hurried corner turning and frantic balance, and swinging when it’s not called for, in Full Of Life A-Dancin’ we see clogging you’ll never see in New England, a regional difference. -Dudley Laufman, Canterbury, NH
Two book reviews:
“The immense scope is handled with clarity and insight, fitting American country dancing into the broader context of American studies…Nevell records American country dances as historical artifacts, as social expressions of rural and urban communities, as manifestations of democracy, and as an evolving traditional art that changes to meet the needs of a changing American society. Valuable for students of dance history, American studies, cultural anthropology, liberal arts, and of interest to both academic and public libraries. From the Choice journal of the American Library Association.
“A splendid book, at once personable and probing, I predict will become a dance classic.”
For info about where to find the films and book please contact author / producer Richard Nevell at firstname.lastname@example.org