An excerpt from “Gone with the Wind” Civil War Dancing

The dance in chapter 9:

“To good to be true! To good to be true!” sang Scarlett’s joyful heart as she slipped unobtrusively into the pink- and yellow-draped booth that was to have been the McLure girls’. Actually she was at a party! After a year’s seclusion, after crepe and hushed voices and nearly going crazy with boredom, she was actually at a party, the biggest party Atlanta had ever seen. And she could see people and many lights and hear music and view for herself the lovely laces and frocks and frills that the famous Captain Butler had run through the blockade on his last trip.
She sank down on one of the little stools behind the counter of the booth and looked up and down the long hall which, until this afternoon, had been a bare and ugly drill room. How the ladies must have worked today to bring it to its present beauty. It looked lovely. Every candle and candlestick in Atlanta must be in this hall tonight, she thought, silver ones with a dozen sprangling arms, china ones with charming figurines clustering their bases, old brass stands, erect and dignified, laden with candles of all sizes and colors, smelling fragrantly of bayberries, standing on the gun racks that ran the length of the hall, on the long flower-decked tables, on booth counters, even on the sills of the open windows where the draughts of warm summer air were just strong enough to make them flare.
In the center of the hall the huge ugly lamp, hanging from the ceiling by rusty chains, was completely transformed by twining ivy and wild grapevines that were already withering from the heat. The walls were banked with pine branches that gave out a spicy smell, making the corners of the room into pretty bowers where the chaperons and old ladies would sit. Long graceful ropes of ivy and grapevine and smilax were hung everywhere, in looping festoons on the walls, draped above the windows, twined in scallops all over the brightly colored cheesecloth booths. And everywhere amid the greenery, on flags and bunting, blazed the bright stars of the Confederacy on their background of red and blue. Read more

☼ ☼ ☼ Brown Bird | Nelson Town Hall

The Monadnock Folklore Society presents  Brown Bird on Sunday, July 3, at the Nelson Town Hall at 7:00 PM. Admission is $12/$9(senior, youth).

Brown Bird has a tendency towards the dark side. Pulling from the influences of the blues, outlaw country, roots rock, early American folk, Gypsy and Eastern European music, Brown Bird offers harmonized voices, haunting lyrics and diverse rhythm and instrumentation, which surges in waves that often swell into high-spirited, foot-stomping madness.

Brown Bird began in 2003, while singer/songwriter David Lamb (guitar, banjo, percussion, vocals) was living in Seattle. Lamb has since toured across the country, experiencing life changes and musical revelations, and come to settle in Rhode Island with his partner MorganEve Swain. (vocals, fiddle, cello, upright bass).

Brown Bird’s journey is illustrated by four released albums, two of them featuring banjo, accordion, cello and vocals by Jeremy and Jerusha Robinson (South China) as Brown Bird’s main members. The third was released as a solo album, and the latest, The Devil Dancing (Peapod Recordings, 2009) features Brown Bird’s three original members, while adding MorganEve Swain, Mike Samos (lap steel, dobro) and Micah Blue Smaldone (bass) to create a full, orchestral sound.

Since the 2009 release of their fourth album, The Devil Dancing, Brown Bird has toured extensively in the US, and supported The Low Anthem on tour across Europe. The duo is currently working on their fifth full-length to be released this fall, but first they will release their brand new EP, The Sound Of Ghosts. The EP is currently available for streaming or purchase directly from the band at , in both digital format and on a hand silkscreened CD, limited to 500 copies. The EP will be released digitally and in stores on May 10th through Supply & Demand Music.

In addition to touring both coasts this spring and summer in support of The Sound Of Ghosts, Brown Bird recently performed at the Virada Cultural in Sao Paulo, Brazil  and has also been invited to perform at the renowned Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island on July 31st, sharing the bill with the likes of Elvis Costello, EmmyLou Harris, M. Ward, Wanda Jackson, Mavis Staples and many others.

☼ ☼ ☼ Annalivia | Nelson Town Hall

Sepia piano bench small

ANNALIVIA returns to the Nelson Town Hall on June 17, 2011  at 8:00 PM.

Admission is $12/$9(senior, youth)

Check out their website for a live version of Murphy’s Shadow performed 11/4/2009 in Peterborough, NH.

At the cutting edge of acoustic and traditional music, Annalivia fuses old and new world sounds to create an authentic new sound, both steeped in tradition and alive with new energy, innovation and originality. Drawing from the musical traditions of Appalachia, Cape Breton, Scotland, England and Ireland, the members of Annalivia also write their own material, including inventive, quirky fiddle tunes and lushly arranged songs. Annalivia is made up of seasoned musicians who have toured with the likes of Cathie Ryan, John Whelan, The Glengarry Bhoys, Dewey Balfa, and Adrienne Young.

The members of Annalivia – Liz Simmons, Flynn Cohen, Emerald Rae, Brendan Carey – Block and Stuart Kenney are equally at home playing a set of traditional Scottish tunes as they are performing a ballad from the Appalachian mountains. All this they achieve with grace, style and an abundance of youthful energy!

“With a wealth of individual talent on display and so much to absorb, there is no doubt that [Annalivia] will be listened to again and again.”
Irish Music Magazine

Sylvia Miskoe to receive Governor’s Folk Heritage Award

The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2011 Governors Arts Awards. Awardees will be honored at a ceremony at the Governor and Executive Council Chambers on April 27, 2011.

Folk Heritage Award: Sylvia Miskoe, traditional musician and dancer. Miskoe’s contributions to our state’s musical lore, particularly Scottish, French-Canadian and New England Contra-dancing, are legendary in New Hampshire and beyond. Sylvia joins an illustrious group of prior Folk Heritage honorees, including Bob McQuillen, Dudley Laufman, and Harvey Tolman.

In Seattle, she will be honored at the 5th Saturday dance. Her friend and mentee, Phil Katz, forwards the following: There will be a brief special tribute to tradition, probably before one of the individual dances starts up. Two of Phil Katz’ original mentors in contra dance music are celebrating significant milestones back in New Hampshire the week of April 30. Musician/caller Dudley Laufman will be celebrating his 80th birthday April 30. It was Dudley’s band – Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra (CCDO), with Dudley calling, that was a major force in saving contra dancing and its music from dying off in the “tv generation”, and carrying it onwards to students and young adults in New England during the late 1960’s/early 70’s. Phil heard the CCDO at at festivals in New York State in 1976/1978 and has been doing this music ever since. Accordion player Sylvia Miskoe, of Concord NH, was the first musician to invite me onstage to sit-in, playing for dancers; the Canterbury Town Hall in 1978. She’s organized and played in “The White Cockade” for contras and Scottish country dances for over 30 years, called dances, and done a long list of musical organizing. On April 27 she will receive the New Hampshire Governor’s Award for the Traditional Arts, awarded to one person every two years. Tradition is passed on from actual individuals to others; we will take a minute to pay tribute to two who were significant in starting us, here in the Northwest.

NH Council on the Arts

Roots on the River | Bellows Falls, VT

12th Annual Roots on the River Festival is up and running. Tickets on sale NOW!!! In addition to headliner Fred Eaglesmith, artists include James McMurtry, Todd Snider, Tommy Womack and Will Kimbrough as DADDY, Audrey Auld, Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus of Dreams and lots more…..June 9-12, 2011, Bellows Falls, VT

Ray Massucco
Vermont Festivals LLC
90 Westminster Street
Bellows Falls VT 05101-1537

Interesting Article about Letters From Ralph Page

Check out this blog post at the Country Dance and Song Society Web site:

Here’s a short snippet from this fascinating post:

The three letters from Ralph Page to Mr. Scarlett are dated January, March and June, 1938. In 1938, Page had just begun calling professionally and the previous year, his and Beth Tolman’s The Country Dance Book had been published. In the first letter, Page mentions a “big armful of letters” which Beth Tolman has just given him. Page refers to Scarlett’s letter describing the Mead New Jersey dance group, saying he was very much interested because he had only previously heard about it “from a distance.” Unlike Lovett, Page is accustomed to barter and offers Scarlett “directions and rhymes for one or two singing quadrilles” in exchange for “the Americanized form of The Huntsman’s Chorus,” and then goes on to offer the observation that he “[has] prompted for dances for several years and find[s] it a very interesting occupation. The favorite singing quadrilles up here are these: Darling Nellie Gray, Garry Owen, Buffalo Gals, O Susannah, and Duck and Dive.” He asks Mr. Scarlett for “the favorite contra dances in New Jersey” and offers that in Munsonville, NH the favorites circa 1938 are Morning Star, Hull’s Victory, Lady Walpole’s Reel, and Money Musk.”

☼ ☼ ☼ April Verch Band | Nelson Town Hall

We are extremely excited to present the April Verch Band on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 7:00 PM. Admission is $18/$15(seniors, youth).

When you see April Verch perform, perhaps you remember her from the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the first thing that strikes you is the pure energy that infuses her fiddle playing and stepdancing.  When you listen to  her though, what draws you in are more subtle things—her pure voice, the finely detailed elegance of her fiddle phrasing and the depth of a repertoire that ranges through material from bluegrass to Brazilian to Celtic, from a jaunty Canadian folk-song to a poignant contemporary ballad.

April was born, raised and is now living in the Ottawa Valley, where her family has lived for generations. It’s an area with a rich, distinctive musical and stepdancing tradition shaped by the diverse roots of the immigrants drawn to the region’s lumber camps. With her band, she plays traditional and original songs that draw from all over the world, but are clearly filtered through her immersion in the style she grew up with in the Ottawa Valley.

It was April’s time spent studying music at Berkelee College of Music in Boston (under Matt Glaser and Darol Anger) that first lead her to blend together different forms of  traditional music to form her own distinct sound.  She then launched her professional career by winning the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Champion and the Canadian Open Fiddle Champion titles (the first and only woman to win both).  In addition to her vigorous touring schedule, she is in great demand for her teaching skills at workshops, master classes and music camps.

The April Verch Band consists of world-class musicians Clay Ross on guitar and Cody Walters on upright-electric bass and banjo. Verch leads the band with her own simultaneous fiddling and dancing and together they have been selling out prestigious venues and festivals for years. They have toured across Canada, the United States, the U.K., Europe and last year made a six week tour in Australia for the first time. In 2011 they are slated for their debut tour in China. They have established a reputation as consummate performers with boundless energy on stage that inevitably brings audiences to their feet.

Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend | Durham, NH


The Spirit of the Past, with a Vision for the Future. Celebrate the New England tradition – excellent music, great callers and friendly dancers.

For 24 years the Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend has been celebrating the music and dance traditions that we know as contra and square dancing – traditions that have been a part of New England for the past 200 years! Every year this event brings together some of the premier dance callers and musicians (as well as a lot of phenomenal dancers!) and offers them unique learning and unparalleled dancing opportunities. This year’s retrospective will be on the legacy of Ralph Page and why he is still important enough to have his own dance weekend.

Location: University of New Hampshire, Memorial Union Building, 83 Main St. Durham, NH 03824

The registrar is Dave Bateman,, (603) 397-0042 and registration forms are available as PDF files on the website.

Price: The full weekend is $80. First timer discounts for the full weekend are available with pre-registration only. Individual sessions are $13-$20 and can be purchased at door. Children under 12 are free and attendees aged 12 – 25 are half price.

Dates and Time:    Friday, Jan. 14             7:30 PM - 11 PM 
                                Saturday, Jan. 15      9 AM - 11:30 PM 
                                Sunday, Jan. 16        9:15 AM - 4 PM

☼ ☼ ☼ Nelson Solstice Party | Nelson Town Hall


On Saturday, December 18 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 $5, 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; as part of the concert 2010 Johnny Trombly Scholarship recipient Douglas Brunson, a 13 year old, home-schooled 8th grader who started playing piano at the age of five and accordion at age eight will entertain us with his musicianship. 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.