Jan 052014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Brattleboro Music Center’s 7th annual Northern Roots Traditional Music Festival will take place on Saturday, January 25th.  This day-long celebration brings together local and regional musicians representing various northern musical traditions including Irish, Scottish, Scandinavian, English and French Canadian.The Northern Roots Festival begins with a full slate of daytime participation and performance activities, including workshops, panels, mini-concerts, pub sessions, dance band prep, and a family dance.

The festival concludes with an evening  performance featuring musicians representing the best of the northern musical traditions.

Workshops for all instruments, Panels, Concerts

Sessions, Dance Band, Family Dance
12:00-5:30 pm

Featuring the best of Northern Musical Traditions

7:30 pm


New England Youth Theater, 100 Flat Street
Afternoon Sessions at McNeill’s Brewery

TICKETS: Day $20, Eve. $20, Both $35
Youth(under 12): Day $10, Eve. $10, Both $15
3pm family concert & dance admission $5 at door
Limited evening seating – advance ticket purchase recommended



Dec 262013

27th Annual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend Takes Place January 17-19, 2014 at UNH-Durham
Celebrate a New England Tradition With an Enjoyable Weekend of Fine Contra & Square Dancing!
“The Essence of the Past Driving the Spirit of the Future”

The 27th Annual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend (RPDLW) is being held at the University of New Hampshire on January 17, 18 and 19, 2014. The annual three-day event features some of the finest callers and musicians from New England and across the country, and provides people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to dance and socialize in a warm and friendly setting. The RPDLW runs from 7:30pm on Friday evening until 4:00pm on Sunday afternoon. Attendees can register for the entire weekend, or pick-and-choose the sessions of interest to them. Both pre- and on-site-registration is available. The RPDLW takes place at the Memorial Union Building on the campus of the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. A complete schedule of events and registration information can be found at www.ralphpage.neffa.org.

Callers for the 2014 RPDLW are three well-known and accomplished professionals (and legends in their own time); Dudley Laufman, Susan Kevra and Lisa Sieverts. All three of these dance masters are known for their clear calling style and genuine connection with the dancers. Dudley, Susan and Lisa will be accompanied by three fabulous bands: Mavish (Adam Broome, Jaige Trudel and Matthew Olwell); Calliope (Amy Cann, Vince O’Donnell, Carol Compton, Ray Salvo and Bruce Randall); and a wonderful local combo, Trip to Nelson, for the Friday night dance.

A very special part of the Weekend each year is the Retrospective on Saturday that highlights a prominent caller, musician or dance style. The 2014 Retrospective will focus on: Mentors: Keeping the Traditions Alive. This special session will focus on dances and careers of many legendary Leaders of traditional dance.

In addition, there will be Workshops on calling, music and dance for those who wish to hone their craft or improve their skills in any of these areas. Workshops are lead by the talented callers and musicians on staff for this Weekend.
The Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend is sponsored by the Ralph Page Memorial Committee of the New England Folk Festival Association (NEFFA) with additional support from the University of New Hampshire Center for the Humanities.

The full weekend adult fee is $80 (lodging and meals not included). Admission to individual sessions may be purchased a-la-carte:

o $13 each: Fri. evening; Sat. morning; Sat. afternoon; Sun. morning.
o $8: Sun. afternoon.
o $20: Saturday night.
o Children under 12 are free.
o See web site for additional discount opportunities!

For more information on the Weekend, its schedule and registration; please go to www.ralphpage.neffa.org. Further details may also be obtained by contacting Dave Bateman, Ralph Page Committee Chairperson, at 603-397-0042 or rpdlw.registrar@comcast.net.

Aug 072013

Bringing Songs to Life: A workshop with Jeff Davis, Sally Rogers, and Howie Bursen

Saturday, November 9th from 1:00 – 3:00 PM at the Nelson Town Hall, 7 Nelson Common Road, Nelson NH 03457

$25 in advance, $30 at the door, send email to sally@sallyrogers.com to register.

This participatory workshop is for anyone who loves traditional songs and singing styles and who would like to learn more about song origins and ways to use your voice and instrumental accompaniments to bring out the story of the song. Songs will be shared for group singing. Solo and harmony arrangements of songs will be demonstrated and discussed as well.

Jeff Davis is one of America’s most respected collectors and interpreters of traditional music. He has traveled far to visit “source singers”–farmers and miners who remembered the old songs and tunes–and closer at hand to libraries and archives, always look for the best of the music that was once common in out towns and villages. Sally Rogers is known for her clear, sweet voice and her fine interpretations of both traditional and contemporary songs. Howie Bursen is best known for his amazing banjo wizardry, but is also a fine interpreter of traditional ballads, blues and old-time songs. These three together bring different perspectives to the art of singing traditional songs.

Tune up your vocal chords and join these three respected and well-loved singers for an afternoon of singing to ring in the rafters!

Feb 182013

Ralph Page orchestra

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.

Jan 142013

photo3-1resizedTim Eriksen will lead a Shape Note (Sacred Harp) Singing Workshop on Sunday, February 24 from 2:30 to 4:30, a $10 donation is requested. This is your chance to get a high-quality introduction to this kind of choral music.  No experience is necessary.  This singing school is for beginners and for those who want to deepen their knowledge of Sacred Harp music.  There is a Sacred Harp singing in Nelson, NH, every second Sunday from 2 pm to 4:30 pm in the basement of the Nelson Congregational Church.

Shape note (sometimes called “sacred harp”) singing is a tradition of harmony singing originally developed to enable people with little formal training to quickly learn new songs. Participants divide into four groups and sit in a “hollow square” arrangement, taking turns choosing and leading each song from the center. In the sheet music, the head of each note is written with a shape corresponding to its place in the scale, and the singers first learn the tune by singing it using the names (fa, so, la, mi) of the notes in place of the text. While shape note texts are mostly hymns and form a part of church services in some religious traditions, most singings now are community events and many non-religious participants come for the intense feeling of community that comes from singing in harmony together.

Tim Eriksen’s work as an ethnomusicologist and teacher has included extensive research on shape-note music in New England and the venerable Sacred Harp four-part harmony tradition. He is a founder of what is currently the world’s largest Sacred Harp singing convention, in Northampton, MA and has taught hundreds of hour- to week-long workshops and seminars in shape-note harmony singing, American music history, ballad singing and instrumental accompaniment at festivals, universities, museums and arts centers, including the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, the Society for Ethnomusicology Convention, Colours of Ostrava Festival (Czech Republic), Camp Fasola (Anniston, AL) and the Early Music Festival in Jaroslaw, Poland.

Tim and his band, ‘Trio de Pumpkintown’ will present a concert at 7:00 PM featuring traditional music from New England and beyond including selections from their new album “Josh Billings Voyage”. Concert admission is $15/$12(senior, youth and advance) and is a separate event.

Jan 142013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Keith Murphy, Director

In January the BMC presents its 6th annual Northern Roots Traditional Music Festival.  This day-long celebration brings together local and regional musicians representing various northern musical traditions including Irish, Scottish, English and French Canadian.

The Northern Roots Festival begins with a full slate of daytime participation and performance activities, including workshops, panels, mini-concerts, pub sessions, dance band prep, and a family dance.  The festival concludes with an evening performance featuring musicians representing the best of the northern musical traditions.

Workshops for all instruments, Panels, Concerts
Sessions, Dance Band, Family Dance
12:00-5:30 pm

Featuring the best of Northern Musical Traditions
7:30 pm



New England Youth Theater, 100 Flat Street
Afternoon Sessions at McNeill’s Brewery

TICKETS: Day $20, Eve. $20, Both $35
Youth(under 12): Day $10, Eve. $10, Both $15
3pm family concert & dance admission $5 at door
Limited evening seating – advance ticket purchase recommended

May 122012

Singing Workshop with Brendan Taaffe and Margery McCrum
Sun. May 27 at the Putney Cares Barn, Kimball Hill, Putney, VT
1:00-5:00 p.m. * $30/ $20 low income
e-mail sing@turtledoveharmony.org to register

New Works/ Healthy Voices

Join us for an afternoon of singing newly composed pieces by Brendan Taaffe and working with Margery McCrum on healthy vocal technique to discover new resonance in your singing voice. The workshop is open to singers of all experience levels: pre-registration is necessary.

Rooted in American traditions, Brendan’s compositions have been performed by the River Singers, the Onion River Chorus, Northern Harmony, and the Amidon family as well as by choirs throughout the UK and New Zealand. About Wester Caputh, performed recently by the River Singers in Grafton, one person wrote, “I might need to listen to that song daily. There is so much hope and joy and certainty in that tune.” You can listen to a sample of it here: http://brendantaaffe.com/free_mp3_downloads.html

His recent work is exploring new territory, bringing in more modern (and some original) texts and incorporating musical ideas from a recent sojourn in Zimbabwe. This workshop will be a chance to participate in bringing these new songs to life.

Margery McCrum teaches voice at the Brattleboro Music Center and runs a private studio locally. Grounded in the bel canto tradition, Margery combines a thorough technical understanding of vocal production with an interest in discovering the full potential of each voice. She works with a holistic approach to integrate all aspects of health – physical, emotional and spiritual – in freeing one’s voice.

To register, you can send your fee (checks to “Turtle Dove”) to Turtle Dove at 118 Prospect St. #2, Brattleboro, VT 05301. For more information, please e-mail sing@turtledoveharmony.org or call Brendan at (802) 770-0857.

May 122012


Traditional Music 3-Day Workshop
for adults & teens (high school age teens)

Hosted by Keith Murphy & Becky Tracy
With Shanon Heaton, Irish Flute and
Tina Lech, Irish Fiddle

July 6-8, 2012
5 pm Friday through 2 pm Sunday
Green Mountain Camp, Dummerston, VT

The Northern Roots Weekend features a series of intensive teaching workshops in traditional music for all instruments, with a focus on fiddle, flute, whistle, guitar and song. Some experience in traditional music required and a recording device is recommended.

A dance band workshop will review the basics of playing for contra dancing but will also be an opportunity to form mini ensembles and experiment with arranging. Evening dancing will be a chance for musicians to play for dancing and to enjoy a good romp on the floor.

The Northern Roots Weekend will will also feature pub and ballad style singing and is a wonderful chance to enjoy informal jam sessions in a lovely country setting (with swimming) in Dummerston, Vermont at Green Mountain Camp, located just 10 minutes from downtown Brattleboro.

Camp begins Friday at 5pm through Sunday at 1pm with wonderful meals provided beginning with Friday supper through Sunday brunch. Rustic cabin accommodation available and also good camping.

Cost: $240 / Includes all workshops, 5 meals and 2 nights cabin lodging (if desired) / $60 deposit
Register now by calling the Brattleboro Music Center at 802-257-4523 or visit: http://bmcvt.org/summer/northern-roots-weekend

May 122012

Workshops at the Concord Community Music School, (23 Wall St in Concord NH).

Performance Craft Master Class:
Three workshops on May 17th, June 14th, and July 19th

This class is for musicians who are interested in becoming better performers, and is open to all levels, instruments, and musical styles. Whether you are a beginning musician who has never played in front of other people before, or an accomplished professional with years of experience, there is always a way to find new satisfaction in sharing music with others. In the course of three sessions we will look at what makes a good performance, and how to improve your own. The class will include performance tips, exercises, examples, and a chance to perform in front of the class with group feedback. Please bring a recording device to each session, and come with a short piece of music prepared to play in class.

Register on line at http://www.ccmusicschool.org/