☼ ☼ ☼ Peterborough First Saturday Contra Dance | December 2, 2023

Fiddler Cedar Stanistreet
Fiddler Cedar Stanistreet

The Monadnock Folklore Society presents the December First Saturday contra dance in the historic Peterborough Town House in Peterborough, NH at 1 Grove Street.

Hannah Johlas will be calling with music from Sycamore: Cedar Stanistreet – fiddle, Michael Sokolovsky – guitar and feet.

Hannah Johlas is a contra dance caller and organizer based in western MA. She loves introducing new dancers to the joys of contra, as well as sharing interesting dances with good flow with more experienced crowds. Her number one priority is always that dancers have a great time!

Cedar grew up playing both classical violin and traditional fiddle music and studied violin performance at the Crane School of Music. For the past ten years, he has played for contra dances across North America with bands including Nor’easter, Cardinal Direction, Maivish, and Cloud Ten. His spirited, rhythmic playing and clear tone keep dancers on their feet. In between gigs, Cedar can be found at home in Brattleboro, Vermont, growing vegetables, baking bread, and birdwatching. He also repairs violins, violas, and cellos.

Michael Sokolovsky is a contra dance guitar player. Michael hails from New England where he was exposed to folk music through family friends early in life. After studying music in college, he discovered contra dancing and has been dancing and playing since. When not playing for a local dance around New England or with Uncle Farmer, Michael co-hosts and produces the Queer Jewish comedy podcast, “Xai, How Are You” and works on his homestead in Western MA.

– The dancing begins at 8:00 PM. 

– Workshop for new dancers at 7:30 PM.

– Admission is sliding scale $12-20.$30 family, or pay what you can.

– Gender-free roles will be used for this evening, Larks and Robins

– This is a mask-optional event.

Contra dance is a fun, relaxed style of folk dance that has flourished in New England since the 1700s. 

Partners form lines and dance a short sequence of steps with their neighbors. 

Dancers are welcome to bring a partner or a group of friends, but it’s not necessary – traditionally, dancers are encouraged to change partners throughout the evening.

For more information call 603.547.5831. 

The Monadnock Folklore Society has presented contra dances and concerts of traditional music since 1982.

Facebook Event: https://fb.me/e/2HRtFiso7

☼ ☼ ☼ Nelson Solstice Party | Nelson Town Hall | December 16, 2023

On Saturday, December 16, we’ll hold our Annual Solstice Party starting at 7:00 PM.

PRESS: DO NOT PUBLICIZE THIS EVENT

The Monadnock Folklore Society brings this community event to the Nelson Town Hall each year, admission is $10, and treats are appreciated for the dessert potluck. This year the evening will begin with a holiday concert featuring a selection of traditional and original seasonal music performed by The Solstice Sisters (Alouette Iselin, Kim Wallach, & Heather Bower) and friends. The Folklore Society invites you to bring along your favorite holiday dessert and we’ll supply the beverages for the intermission. After the concert the chairs and benches are 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.

☼ ☼ ☼ Claudia Schmidt | Nelson Town Hall | November 11, 2023

 

CLAUDFEST! What is it? This year marks the 50th year that Claudia Schmidt has been weaving her musical magic for countless delighted audiences. It begins with her multi-octave voice, 12 string guitar and mountain dulcimer. But then the language leaps in, and it all comes together. Her love of language is obvious from the moment she opens her mouth. Her songs are pure poetry, and along her way she began adding spoken word and story,  so that her listeners get to go on a deep journey with her, returning refreshed and replenished from the experience. She has recorded 22 albums and there is much more to come. Why don’t you come and help this amazing performer celebrate as she begins her 6th decade of  composing and performing?! CELEBRATE CLAUDFEST! Join us on Saturday, November 11, for a 7:30 PM concert at the Nelson Town Hall celebrating Claudia’s 50 years of performing. Admission is $25/$20(senior, student).

Claudia Schmidt has been perfecting her craft of writing and performing for 50 years. It is a quirky and wonderful hodge-podge (her word) of music, poetry, story, theater, all invoking the whole gamut of emotions and leaving the listener refreshed and thoughtful. Using her incredible multi-octave voice, 12 string guitar and mountain dulcimer, and a deep love of performing, every concert is a true celebration of the moment. Work in clubs, theaters, festivals, TV and radio has continually added depth and dimension, so whether it is her own work or very personal versions of the work of others, what you get is a unique look at the world from someone who says what she sees with clarity, humor, and wonder. The San Francisco Bay Guardian said: “Schmidt’s shows are a lot like falling in love. You never know what’s going to happen next, chances are it’s going to be wonderful, every moment is burned into your memory, and you know you’ll never be the same again.”

During the Covid lockdown, she created weekly concerts on Facebook to stay connected with her fans. all of which (along with many more videos!) are archived at her website www.claudiaschmidt.com

She released her 22nd recording in autumn of 2022, called Reimagining, and continues writing toward a new project. She is at her peak in terms of performance, and is so happy to be doing live concerts again, and shows no sign of slowing down or stopping. She describes the stage as ‘her natural habitat’ and thrives there. So, in turn, do her listeners.

☼ ☼ ☼ Contra Dance in Peterborough NH on Saturday, November 4, 2023

Contra Dance in Peterborough NH on Saturday, November 4

The Monadnock Folklore Society presents the Peterborough, NH First Saturday Contra Dance on NOVEMBER 4, with our own Steve Zakon-Anderson calling with musicians Eric Boodman on fiddle and feet and Sam Zakon-Anderson on keyboards.

Contra dance is a fun, easy folk dance style that has flourished in New England since the 1700s. Partners form lines and dance a short sequence of steps with their neighbors. Over the course of the dance, each couple travels the length of the line and dances with every other couple. Dancers are welcome to bring a partner or a group of friends but it’s not necessary – traditionally, dancers are encouraged to change partners throughout the evening.

The dancing begins at 8:00 PM. The dance has a workshop for new dancers at 7:30 PM.

Admission is $12-20 sliding scale. $30 Family rate.

Masks optional.
Gender-free calling terms: Larks and Robins

The dance takes place in the historic Town House in Peterborough, NH at 1 Grove Street. For more information call 603-547-5831 or visit www.facebook.com/peterboroughcontra.

The Monadnock Folklore Society has presented contra dances and concerts of traditional music since 1982.

 

☼ ☼ ☼ An Evening with Cosy Sheridan & Susie Burke | Nelson Town Hall | Oct 13, 2023

Sloan Wainwright has come down with the flu and Susie Burke is stepping in to fill her shoes for both the Friday night concert and weekend workshops.

Cosy Sheridan & Susie Burke will appear in concert at the Nelson Town Hall on Friday, October 13 at 7:30 PM. Admission is $20/$15(seniors, students, & in advance).

This will be the opening night concert for The Song Sessions weekend of song, voice, & guitar workshops featuring the songwriting of Cosy Sheridan and Sloan Wainwright  accompanied by Charlie Koch and Glen Roethel.

Cosy Sheridan has been called one of the era’s finest and most thoughtful songwriters, and also ‘a buddhist monk trapped in the body of a singer-songwriter’. Her music regularly tops the folk radio charts. Her CD, Pretty Bird, was listed among Sing Out Magazine’s Great CDs of 2014. Her concerts are wide-ranging explorations: ragtime guitar and social satire, modern renditions of mythology ( meet Hades the Biker ) and tales of modern adulthood. Her alter ego, Chlamydia, sometimes appears with songs such as “Botox Tango” or “Multiply Pierced.” The Cornell Folksong Society wrote: “Sheridan is frank, feisty, sublimely and devilishly funny. She fuses myth with modern culture; Persephone with Botox.”

A guitar student of instrumental luminaries Guy Van Duser and Eric Schoenberg, and a voice student at The Berklee School of Music, she brings a depth of experience to her craft. She plays a percussive bluesy guitar style – often in open tunings and occasionally with two or more capos on the guitar.

Susie Burke has been singing on Seacoast stages since the early 80s, as a soloist, a member of several local bands, and in several duos, including one with guitar whiz Harvey Reid. Her musical tastes and influences are varied and many, encompassing contemporary and traditional folk, swing, country, topical songs, and a capella singing, with detours along the way for Broadway show tunes and classic ballads. Before devoting her energies to music full-time, Burke worked as a day-care teacher, and her love of kids is evident in her wonderful participatory children’s concerts. Burke’s vocal style is at once stunning and heartfelt, and is well-respected within the folk music community, as is demonstrated by the fact that she has appeared as a backing musician on numerous recordings.

Sloan Wainwright is a songwriter, singer, performer, teacher, mentor and collaborator. A unique hybrid of pop, folk, jazz and blues, Wainwright’s music is unified by her melodious tone and rich, powerful contralto. Over the course of a 30-year career in music, she has played the great concert halls, the most storied listening rooms and top music festivals while also teaching at the nation’s leading music retreats. She has inspired hundreds of students on their creative journeys and collaborated with dozens of musicians, writers, choreographers and performers.

Most of all, Wainwright is an artist. As a member of an acclaimed family of artists (brother Loudon Wainwright, sister-in-law Kate McGarrigle, nephew Rufus Wainwright and nieces Martha Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche), Wainwright has charted an artistic path all her own, one based in close observation, joy, and spiritual connection.

Now, standing on the foundation of a rich and diverse career, Wainwright is tapping into fresh material as she continues to provide transformative, healing, and energetic experiences for her audiences. Always looking to grow as an artist, these days Wainwright is pursuing new collaborative partnerships, exploring traditional music, and developing fresh avenues for teaching and mentorship.

☼ ☼ ☼ Peterborough Contra Dance | Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023

Luke Donforth headshot, a white male with beard and glassesLuke Donforth calling with Sycamore:
Cedar Stanistreet, Michael Sokolovsky, Jake Grieco

8 PM – 11 PM, new dancer orientation at 7:30 PM

1 Grove Street, Peterborough, NH 03458

COVID Policy: http://bit.ly/MFSCOVID

Contra Dance in Peterborough NH on Saturday September 2.

Contra dance is a fun, easy style of folk dance which has flourished in New England since the 1700s. Partners form lines and dance a short sequence of steps with their neighbors. Over the course of the dance, each couple travels the length of the line and dances with every other couple. Dancers are welcome to bring a partner or a group of friends but it’s not necessary – traditionally, dancers are encouraged to change partners throughout the evening.

– The dancing begins at 8:00 PM. 

– Workshop for new dancers at 7:30 PM.

– Admission is sliding scale $12-20.

– Roles will be larks/robins for this evening

– Mask optional.

The dance takes place in the historic Town House in Peterborough, NH at 1 Grove Street. For more information call 603-547-5831 or visit www.facebook.com/peterboroughcontra, or www.monadnockfolk.org. The Monadnock Folklore Society has presented contra dances and concerts of traditional music since 1982.

☼ ☼ ☼ Troy MacGillivray & Kimberley Fraser | Nelson Town Hall | Sept. 16, 2023

Join us for an evening of Music from Cape Breton and Nova Scotia with Troy MacGillivray and Kimberley Fraser at the Nelson Town Hall on Saturday, September 16 at 7:30 PM. Admission is $25/$20(senior, student, or in advance). Troy and Kimberley will accompany each other on fiddle and piano in the classic Cape Breton style, and if past performances are any guide, treat us to some step dancing. This will be our first Cape Breton concert in quite some time and will be a night to remember. The concert is presented in part with the support of the Thomas Wright Foundation.

Troy MacGillivray is from Lanark, a small community on the north-eastern shore of Nova Scotia. Troy’s commitment to music has spanned 30 years and includes both practical and academic accomplishments – most recently an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick in Ireland. From as young as six years old, Troy was impressing audiences step dancing and soon after, fiddle and piano skills. His first teaching gig was at 13 years old at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, Cape Breton. His roots-centered approach comes from a family of proud Scottish heritage where fiddle playing and Gaelic traditions runs in the bloodline.

In 2012, Troy was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for contributions to culture in Canada. Troy’s strong career has brought him around the world playing and teaching from the North Pole to the Afghanistan while solo recordings have received numerous nominations and awards from East Coast Music Awards and the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

Kimberley Fraser was born on Cape Breton Island, and nurtured within its rich musical heritage. She first began to impress audiences at the age of three with her step-dancing talents. Soon after that she took up both the fiddle and the piano.  Kimberley’s career is a distinguished one; she has traveled the world, from Victoria to Afghanistan, performing at venues such as The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. bringing Cape Breton music with her wherever she goes. Dan MacDonald of the Cape Breton Post says about Fraser’s versatility, “She has matured to become one of the stellar players of the Cape Breton fiddle tradition, equally at home at a house party, playing for a square dance or on stage for a concert in Bras d’Or or Boston, Scotsville or Scotland.” Kimberley has shared the stage with the finest acts in Celtic music, such as Alasdair Fraser, Martin Hayes and Lunasa. Kimberley is also in demand for her piano skills, accompanying musicians at home and abroad.

Kimberley holds a degree in Violin performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston as well as a BA with Honours in Celtic Studies and major in Jazz piano from St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Education is important to her, reflected in Kimberley’s dedication to teaching Cape Breton music both at home and abroad. A master at the trio of fiddling, step dancing and piano, Kimberley is a much sought after teacher for all three. Her reputation as a teacher has brought her to conduct workshops at many camps and festivals, including Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Fiddle Camp, the Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, North Carolina, and The American Festival of Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Washington to name a few. She is now a full-time faculty member for the Music Arts program at the Nova Scotia Community College’s Marconi Campus in Sydney, NS where she teaches music theory, ear training, piano keyboarding skills and a variety of ensemble classes.

Kimberley has released 2 studio albums: Heart Behind the Bow in 2000 and Falling on New Ground in 2006 which earned her an East Coast Music Award for Best Roots/Traditional Record in 2008.

☼ ☼ ☼ Peterborough Contra Dance | August 5, 2023

Tod Whittemore calling with the Sugar River Band

8 PM – 11 PM, new dancer orientation at 7:30 PM

1 Grove Street, Peterborough, NH 03458

COVID Policy: http://bit.ly/MFSCOVID

Contra Dance in Peterborough NH on Saturday August 5th.

The Monadnock Folklore Society presents the Peterborough, NH First Saturday Contra Dance on August 5, featuring Tod Whittemore calling with music from the Sugar River band.

Contra dance is a fun, easy style of folk dance which has flourished in New England since the 1700s. Partners form lines and dance a short sequence of steps with their neighbors. Over the course of the dance, each couple travels the length of the line and dances with every other couple. Dancers are welcome to bring a partner or a group of friends but it’s not necessary – traditionally, dancers are encouraged to change partners throughout the evening.

Tod Whittemore has been calling dances for forty years, having been lucky enough to begin his career at the time when famous callers Ralph Page and Duke Miller were still active in the Monadnock Region.  He helped start the Peterborough first Saturday and NEFFA Thursday night dances. Tod has called dances all over the world and is known for his humor, energy, and infectious love of dancing. He is known for his singing squares, and sometimes yodeling squares.

Joining Tod on stage is the Sugar River Band. The Sugar River Band is a family band (all now adults) led by fiddler Jane Orzechowski, with her son Francis (on piano or accordion), son Russell and daughter Sophie ( both of whom play fiddle, piano, and accordion). Sarah Bauhan will join the band on flute and whistle.

– The dancing begins at 8:00 PM. 

– Workshop for new dancers at 7:30 PM.

– Admission is sliding scale $12-20.

– Traditional gender roles will be used for this evening

– Mask optional.

The dance takes place in the historic Town House in Peterborough, NH at 1 Grove Street. For more information call 603-547-5831 or visit www.facebook.com/peterboroughcontra, or www.monadnockfolk.org. The Monadnock Folklore Society has presented contra dances and concerts of traditional music since 1982.

Caller Tod Whittemore