Nelson Second Saturday Calendar Archive

Saturday, April 12

Lisa Sieverts with the Sugar River Band

The Nelson Contra Dance on Saturday, April 12th, features the calling of Mary DesRosiers and the music of the Sugar River Band. Mary is known throughout New England for her excellent teaching and calling skills, which she applies to classic New England contra dances. The Sugar River Band is comprised of Jane Orechowski, who is one of New England’s most accomplised dance fiddlers, and two of her children who have now grown into excellent musicians in their own right. Jane has been playing the fiddle since she was a child dancing and playing for the Swedish Folk Dance Club of Boston at the New England Folk Festival every year. Her daughter Sophie, 17, and son Neil, 14, play fiddle, piano and accordion.The Orzechowskis live in Newport, NH and play traditional fiddle music from New England and Sweden on fiddles, piano and accordion for contra dances, family dances and barn dances. New England dance music is influenced by French-Canadian, Irish, Scottish, English and Cape Breton styles.

Sophie has been an apprentice to Bob McQuillen for contra dance piano as part of the apprentice/master musician program with the NH Council on the Arts. She traveled to Norway in February 2005 where she performed as a musician for both Morris and contra dancing for a group of teenage dancers on a cross-cultural exchange program. Neil has completed an apprenticeship, also through the NH Arts Council, to Dudley Laufman for calling and fiddling for traditional New England barn dances.

Jane and Sophie have each been featured musicians with the Christmas Revels in Hanover, and the Sugar River Band regularly performs at the Revels North Summer Solstice festivals. The band has recorded with Jacqueline and Dudley Laufman on the White Mountain Reel and The Sweets of May, (books and CD’s of traditional American dances) and on the CD, “Where’d You Get Them Chunes?”.

Jane is also on three recordings with the band Old New England in addition to several recordings with Sarah Bauhan, Pat Sager, and others. Jane, as part of Old New England, has performed on the Millennium stage at the Kennedy Center, at the U. S. Capitol concert series on the East Lawn, at the Library of Congress, and at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the mall in Washington, DC.

Locally, the Sugar River Band has performed in New Hampshire and Vermont for retirement homes, farmers’ markets, town celebrations, parties, dances, and weddings. The Sugar River Band was featured at the annual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend in New Hampshire, the New England Folk Festival and Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts, and at the Indian Neck Folk Festival in Connecticut. The dance opens with a beginner’s workshop at 7:30, and official dancing starts at 8:00. All dances are taught throughout the evening. Admission is $8, $6 for senior citizens and students. For more information call 603.827.3044

Saturday, March 8th
Caller: Don Primrose
Music by Heathen Creek
So, Nelson’s own Don Primrose is calling with the Heathen Creek – who’s going to have more fun? The dancers! What a night this is going to be. If you haven’t heard this band, grab a sound-sample right here.

Heathen Creek hails from various parts of New England: mandolin player Mark Koyama from Western Massachusetts, guitarist Pete Johannsen from Boston, and fiddler Maia Rutman from the Upper Valley of New Hampshire. Since their first jam on a New York hillside almost seven years ago, they’ve been playing their own special brand of high-energy music, leaving a trail of blissfully tired dancers in their wake. All avid contra dancers, the Heathens lay traditional Irish, French Canadian, and Old-Time tunes on a bed of hard-hitting rhythm, creating a unique, sock-knocking sound.

Saturday, February 9
Caller: Nils Fredland
Music by Harvey Tolman and Bob McQuillen

“You’ve got a great voice! It was like you were channeling a southern preacher…I wanted to do everything you said.” That’s what Joseph Pimentel, a fellow dance caller, had to say about Nils Fredland, who will be calling the contra dance in Nelson (NH) on Saturday, February 9th. Nils commands the dance floor with warmth and wit. He is an excellent teacher, and a very fun caller to dance to.

Music by the evening is provided by two of the most venerable musicians in the Monadnock region: Harvey Tolman on fiddle, and Bob McQuillen on piano. Both gentlemen have been playing for contra dances practically since it was invented. Both have been recipients of the New Hampshire Folk Hertitage Award (Harvey’s will be awarded this April 24th.

Harvey is fluent in the traditional New England repetoire for the classic dances, but he is primarily known as one of New England’s finest players of Cape Breton style fiddle, which provides driving vigor for the dances.

The dance opens with a beginner’s workshop at 7:30, and official dancing starts at 8:00. All dances are taught throughout the evening. Admission is $8, $6 for senior citizens and students. For more information call 603.827.3044

Saturday, January 12th

Caller: Rick Mohr
Music by Bill Thomas, Matt Harris, Gordon Peery

Bill Thomas and Matt Harris, seasoned Irish session-players, will be providing music for the Nelson Contra Dance on Saturday, January 12th. They will be accompanied by Gordon Peery on piano. Rick Mohr is the caller for the evening, bringing 20 years of experience calling dances throughout New England. Rick says “Every roomful of dancers is different, some dancing all their lives and some walking in for the first time. I enjoy pulling out the right dances so the hall really heats up and we become a roomful of friends.”

While Irish tunes figure prominently in the New England contra dance repertoire, the pure Celtic energy anticipated from this trio is something unusual to look forward to. Bill plays the Irish wooden flute, and the Uillean pipes, which delivers some of the excitement of its larger cousin, the Highland pipes, but with much more capability for musical subtleties. Going back a couple of decades, Bill was often heard playing at local contra dances. In recent years he has focused on playing at sessions in central New England. It is a pleasure to welcome him back to the hall. Matt, on fiddle, is a frequent musical collaborator with Bill at the sessions.


Listen to a music preview of Bill Thomas, Matt Harris, and Gordon Peery

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Some years ago members of the Irish band, the Chieftains, came to Nelson on an informal tour. At the end of the evening the audience moved the chairs back and asked the band to play some tunes so they could dance. Paddy Moloney, the leader of the Chieftains, had never seen anything like this, but was impressed by how well the dancing suited the music. As a result, a year later he called and asked the Monadnock Folklore Society if they could put together a small dance ensemble to join the Chieftains in performances including Symphony Hall in Boston and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York. MFS responded by forming the Nelson Village Dancers, and the short tour was a great success. Of course, folks in New England have been dancing to Irish tunes for years, but it was nice to be able to demonstrate this directly to worlds’s best known Irish music band, and to have them get excited about it.

Saturday, December 8

Nat Hewitt ~ fiddle
Liza Constable ~ guitar
Glen Loper ~ mandolin

Nat Hewitt has been described as a demon fiddler with a glint in his eye, playing in a style that is grounded in New England tradition and further informed by both rock & roll and jazz. Liza Constable throws some mean driving guitar chords underneath the tunes, rendering them highly danceable and giving a unique perspective for the ear of the beholder. Glen Loper fills out innovative textures and harmonies with tenor banjo and mandolin. Lisa Sieverts has been calling contra dances for twelve years and provides a rock-solid foundation for learning and enjoying contra dancing.

November 10, 2007

Caller: Jeff Petrovitch
Music by Randy Miller, David Kaynor, Gordon Peery

Jeff Petrovitch is the caller for an evening of lively contra dancing with music provided by Randy Miller and David Kaynor on fiddles, and Gordon Peery on piano.

Jeff is rapidly becoming a favorite caller on the New England dance scene thanks to his enthusiastic delivery and ever expanding repertoire of new innovative dances as well as classic contras. Randy Miller has been at the heart of the New England dance scene since the early 1970’s, and in addition to playing is the author/complier of several tune books. David Kaynor is well known as a dance caller, but this evening is a rare opportunity to hear his equally stellar fiddling expertise.

The evening begins at 7:30 with a workshop for beginners, and those who want a bit of refreshing. The main dance starts at 8:00. Admission is $8, $6 for senior citizens and students. The Nelson Town Hall is in the center of Nelson, NH. For more information call 603-827-3044.

October 13, 2007

Caller: Cindy Green
Music by Amy Cann, Carey Bluhm, Gordon Peery

Come to the Nelson Town Hall for a wonderful evening of contra dancing with caller Cindy Green and the twin fiddling of Amy Cann and Carey Bluhm, backed up by Gordon Peery on piano. Cindy is known for calling that is easy to follow, with interesting twists, and humorous repartee to get everyone moving quickly. Expect some new dances as well as classic contras, and maybe a square or two.

Newcomers and those wanting a refresher are welcome at 7:30 for a workshop that will include tips on how to waltz, for those 3/4 shy. The main dance starts at 8:00. Admission is $8, $6 for senior citizens and students.

The Nelson Town Hall is in the center of Nelson, New Hampshire. For more information call 603-827-3044.