Nelson Monday Contra Dance Canceled for One Night Only on March 11

Nelson Monday Contra Dance Canceled for One Night Only on March 11

The Monadnock Folklore Society alerts the community that on Monday, March 11, the Monday contra dance will not be held. The Nelson Town Hall will be used for the town election the next day and is not available for the dance.

The Monday contra dance will take place as usual the following Monday, March 18.


☼ ☼ ☼ Alex Cumming ‘Homecoming’ Tour | Nelson Town Hall | March 16, 2024

Join us for a concert with critically acclaimed folk singer and accordionist Alex Cumming as he celebrates the launch of his brand new album, ‘Homecoming’, an exciting album full of toe-tapping tunes, beautiful ballads and rollicking choruses. The concert will take place at the Nelson Town Hall at 7:30 on Saturday, March 16. Joining Alex will be virtuosic fiddler and singer Audrey Jaber, known for her work with The Gaslight Tinkers, Wake Up Robin, Larry Unger, Free Raisins and more. Admission is $20/$15(seniors, students, or in advance).

Alex Cumming is a traditional Singer, Accordionist, Pianist and dance caller hailing from Somerset, England, now living in Brattleboro VT, USA. He performs songs and tunes from around the United Kingdom and America with a great depth of knowledge of the tradition. Alex has made his mark on the folk scene with his rhythmic dance-able accordion style, strong voice and his fun and engaging stage presence. After over a decade of recording albums and touring with various bands, 2024 sees Alex release his debut solo album, ‘Homecoming’, featuring fiddler Audrey Jaber (Wake Up Robin, Free Raisins), guitarist Max Newman (Stringrays, Nor’Easter) and regular recording collaborator Pete Ord (Haystack Records).Alex is a member of Celtic trio Bellwether (with Louise Bichan, Eric McDonald), award winning a capella quartet The Teacups and critically acclaimed duo Alex Cumming & Nicola Beazley. You may also catch him playing for dances in many combos, including Stuart Kenney’s Red Case Band and trio Crossover. Alex is also Artistic Director for Revels North.

You know Audrey Jaber is performing if the room is buzzing at a higher level. Her fiddling, featured in bands including The Free Raisins, The Gaslight Tinkers, Audacious (with Larry Unger), and Wake Up Robin, has electrified dance and concert halls across the US and Europe. Hailing from Honolulu and now living in California, she cut her folk teeth in the Boston area, attending Berklee College of Music and spending years exploring the thriving New England folk scene. Audrey’s fiddle playing is rhythmically lively and spontaneous; she’s guaranteed to get you up and dancing. She specializes in English dance, New England, Celtic, and Old Time tunes (and did we mention she’s also an audio engineer?!). You might also have taken a workshop with Audrey, as she’s been on staff at various camps including various weeks at Pinewoods, Ashokan Northern Week, BACDS American week, New London Assembly and Halsway Manor. For more on Audrey, visit her at

How Did You Hear About This Concert?

May We Add You To MFS Email List?

☼ ☼ ☼ Peterborough Dance Canceled Saturday January 6

The January Peterborough Contra Dance scheduled for Saturday, January 6 has been canceled due to the incoming snowstorm that is expected to impact the area during the times when dancers would be driving to and from the dance.

Come to our upcoming events in Peterborough: The Snow Ball on Saturday, January 20 from noon to midnight, and the February Contra on Saturday, Feb. 3.

☼ ☼ ☼ Unusual Mondays

The Nelson Monday Night Contra Dance will be held on Christmas night, December 25, 2023. There will be a dessert potluck at about 9:30 PM, bring a treat to share.

The Nelson Monday Night Contra Dance will be held on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2024, at the regular time.

No jam session for musicians on these dates.

The Nelson Monday Night Contra Dance on January 23, 2024, will be canceled due to the Presidential Primary taking place the next day.

☼ ☼ ☼ Peterborough Thanksgiving Eve Contra Dance | November 22, 2023

The annual Thanksgiving Eve Contra returns for the first time since 2019.

Steve Zakon-Anderson calling with Oliver Scanlon on fiddle and mandolin, Rose Jackson on fiddle, Helen Kuhar on guitar, and Sam Zakon-Anderson on keyboards. Masks required.

No workshop

Admission: Sliding Scale $12 – $20

Dancing 8:00 to 11:00 PM

Peterborough Town Hall
1 Grove Street
Peterborough, NH 03458

MFS COVID Policy Note that KN-95 type masks are required for this event

☼ ☼ ☼ 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:

☼ ☼ ☼ 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.


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

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.

☼ ☼ ☼ 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:

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