Morris Musician Needed

Welcome Spring in style
with weekend performances
throughout the Monadnock Region and New England!

Come join the living Morris tradition!
Become a part of the greater Morris community.

Groups of dancers join together to celebrate, dance and
sing. Meet musicians and dancers from the region, the
nation, and the world at Morris gatherings.

Can you commit to be a practice musician Monday nights
during the school year in Harrisville, NH.? 6:30-8pm *

Loud melody instruments preferred
such as (but not necessarily limited to) concertina, accordion and fiddle

Curious? Interested? We’d like to meet you!

Please contact Elizabeth Field

(What is Morris? Visit

*Please be aware dancers and musicians volunteer their time.

Harrisville Morris Women Logo

☼ ☼ ☼ Nowell Sing We Clear | Dublin

One of our Annual Seasonal Extravaganzas!

Not to be missed!

Friday, December 3 at 8:00 PM

Dublin Community Church

$15/$12(senior, youth & Advance)

This will be the thirty-sixth touring season of Nowell Sing We Clear with its unusual songs, carols, stories, and customs. Drawn mostly from English-language folk traditions, the songs tell both a version of the events and characters involved in the Christmas story and detail the customs which make up the twelve magical days following the return of the light at the winter solstice. Many of these ancient customs are the basis of the today’s holiday traditions, such as visiting and feasting, gift-giving, carol singing from door-to-door and the adorning of houses and churches with garlands of evergreen.

Nowell Sing We Clear celebrates Christmas as it was known for centuries in Britain and North America and as it continues in many places to the present.  The songs come from an age when the midwinter season was a time for joyous celebration and vigorous expression of older, perhaps pagan, religious ideas. There is not always a clear line between these and the rejoicing at the birth of Jesus bringing a fresh light into the world at this dark midwinter time. A special and unusual treat is the enactment of a Mummers Play from Kentucky.  Performed in the traditional manner, the play is typical of folk dramas which survive to this day throughout Britain and North America symbolizing and portraying the death of the land at midwinter and its subsequent rebirth in the spring.

While much of the singing is done in unaccompanied style, the pageant is also stamped with the energetic dance band sound of fiddle, button accordion, electric piano, drums, and concertina.  The audience will be supplied with songsheets and encouraged to sing along, though after three decades of touring in New England, a whole generation of young people have grown up with these songs and carols and sing along with as much as they can. Some “new”, that is “different”, songs and carols are introduced every year.  Performers are John Roberts and Tony Barrand, widely known for their lively presentations of English folk songs, and Fred Breunig and Andy Davis, well known in New England as dance callers and musicians.

Nowell Sing We Clear has become a regular part of some communities on the Eastern seaboard.  The group has several recordings of songs from the show which have been popular items in many households at this time of year. Their CDs are drawn from songs learned for their concerts: The newest is Just Say Nowell, Hail Smiling Morn has a cover designed by famous Vermont artist, Mary Azarian, and Nowell SingWe Four.The first three LP recordings are all well represented on a compact disk, The Best of Nowell: 1976 – 1985 All recordings are available from Golden Hind Records.

Howard Mansfield, Edie Clark, and Michael Miller | Harrisville NH

Triple Play! Chesham Arts Presents
Howard Mansfield, Edie Clark, and Michael Miller
October 29-31, 2010
Chesham Church, Chesham (Harrisville) NH

The weekend of October 29 and 30 will be a special time for the Chesham Church: award-winning photographer, Michael Miller, will fill the church with his photographs, with an opening reception for him and his photos on Friday evening, October 29, at 5 p.m. Then, on Saturday evening, October 30, at 7 p.m., acclaimed authors Howard Mansfield and Edie Clark
will read from their new books which will be available for sale. The authors will sign. Proceeds will benefit the church.
It has been said about Howard Mansfield that he has never written an uninteresting sentence. His new book, Turn and Jump: How Time and Place Fell Apart, is the sixth in a series of intriguing books he has written, beginning with the memorable, In the Memory House, published to wide acclaim (“a wise and beautiful book,” The New York Times) in 1993 and including as well The Bones of the Earth and The Same Axe Twice, which The New York Times said was “filled with insight and eloquence. A memorable, readable, brilliant book.” Turn and Jump is about time and place, a series of essays about various aspects of our past. Two chapters focus on local phenomenon: Derby’s Store, once the anchor store for all of Peterborough and The Old Homestead, the play that has been produced every year in Swanzey since 1939. Howard lives in Hancock with his wife, the writer, Sy Montgomery and their beloved dog, Sally.
Edie Clark’s new book, States of Grace: Encounters with Real Yankees, is a collection of stories about ordinary people who are distinguished by one extraordinary measure. Included in this volume is a portrait of Doris “Granny D” Haddock and a portrait of Bill House, for many years a surveyor in the Monadnock Region, and his two friends, Bob Bates and Charlie Houston. Together they staged the American expedition to climb K2 in 1939. The book features 28 similar portraits and has been called “a testament to the difficult art of the short profile, at which Clark is a master.” She has four other books, Monadnock Tales, The View from Mary’s Farm, Saturday Beans and Sunday Suppers, and her memoir, The Place He Made, which The New York Times said is “a triumph of the human spirit that may take its place among the best of the literature.” Edie has written for Yankee magazine for the past 32 years and, specifically, about her place in Harrisville for the past twenty years in a column once known as “The Garden at Chesham Depot” and now entitled “Mary’s Farm.” She has lived in Harrisville since 1981.
The Saturday reading will be beautifully enhanced by the evocative, light-filled photographs of Michael Miller, who was, until recently, known in this town as a skilled carpenter. But, way back when, he had earned a degree in photojournalism from Boston University, schooling he never used until very recently. In time, the rigors of carpentry caught up with him and he started thinking about what he might do that was not quite so hard on his back. Michael had never completely put his camera away. As he quietly went about working on other people’s houses, he began to wonder if he could take pictures to earn a living. That was a couple of years ago. His photos have now won awards in several art shows, one of the judges claiming that he thought Michael’s winning photo was actually a painting and, in another instance, his blue ribbon being the first ever given to a photograph rather than a painting. Many of Michael’s photos are of local scenes as well as of Provence, where his wife, Genevieve Drevet, grew up and where they frequently visit.
Both Michael’s opening reception and the Saturday night reading are free and open to the public. Michael’s photos will be on display throughout the weekend. The Chesham Church is the summer home of the Community Church of Harrisville and Chesham. Please come and enjoy these events as well as the special beauty of this lovely church.
Directions to the Church: The church is on Chesham Rd. 1 mile off of route 101 in the small village of Chesham (Harrisville).
Call 603-827-2905 with any questions.

Monday Night Dance Canceled on November 1st

The Nelson, NH Monday Night Contra Dance is canceled November 1st. The town of Nelson requires the space in preparation for the election to be held the next day.

The Nelson dance has been held every Monday for the past 25 years, except for natural disasters such as the ice storm of 2008. The dance is well known for its community spirit, volunteer performers and excellent cookies. Dancers of all ages and backgrounds come from near and far. All are welcome.

While the hall will be dark on November 1st, the dance will continue as always the following Monday, November 8th. For more information call 603.762.0235 or visit

Cape Breton Camp in Brookfield VT

Fiddler and step dancer Andrea Beaton will be down from Cape Breton and joining
me for a four day camp from Aug 23 – 26. The location is at the Old Town Hall
in historic Pond Village, Brookfield , VT Camp will run from 10 – 4 each day,
and the cost is $240/person. There is also a chance that we’ll be joined by Mac
Morin on Monday and Tuesday. For those of you who don’t know him, Mac is an
amazing Cape Breton piano player and step dancer. So…if there are any people
out there wishing to learn some Cape Breton piano accompaniment…..Mac is as
good as it gets.

Also the 4 day cost will be reduced to $225 if I receive a $100 deposit by
August 16th. The day rate is $70/day.

Please call for more info after August 14th…… Beth Telford 802-728-6351

Folks in Nelson Concert

As part of Old Home Day, there will be a concert at 7 PM on Saturday, August 14th at the Nelson Town Hall. Join your friends for an evening of wonderful music played by our talented Nelson neighbors or folks with strong Nelson connections. Always an enjoyable and varied show.

Folknotes: August 2010

A western caller, Fred Feild, came across this in the March 1941 Recreation Magazine. The overall article is called “The Square Dance Goes to College.” After talking about the University of North Carolina it says this:

At John Gould Goddard College in Vermont

Assisted by teachers from the Washington County Folk Dance Association, young Vermonters study the old country dances at a mid-winter school at Goddard College.

Skiing in Vermont’s snow-covered hills and old-time dancing were friendly rivals for popular favor immediately after Christmas when the Washington County Folk Dance Association brought its summer activities up to date with a three-day school of country dances at Goddard College. And the same spirit pervaded the school as that which prevailed at the annual Vermont Folk Dance Festival in August on the college campus in Plainfield.

The city ballrooms of the nation have lately adopted country dancing with all the vigor of a new-found diversion, but to this group in Vermont folk dancing is something as old as the early “pitches” when settlers first brought cows into the Winooski valley. And since the attendance at the school turned out to be better than half school-age youngsters, it is likely that the country dances will remain a form of Saturday night recreation throughout Vermont long after city folks have taken up some new idea.

Vermont has a set of country dance traditions all its own, and several intricate dances unknown to the rest of the nation. To keep these traditions safe, the Washington County group organized many years ago for the purpose of searching out techniques and teaching them to other groups gathered solely for amusement. When the group heard that the folks down in Chelsea had a different twist on the promenade forward of a Boston Fancy, they sent someone down, and now the Chelsea tradition is known throught Vermont. During the year the group stands ready to send teachers, equipped with phonograph records and source material, anywhere in Vermont to teach country dancing – a free service that arises from a genuine love for the dance.

Throughout the year the group has bi-weekly dances at some small hall or farmhouse in Washington County, where the program is part recreation, part study. Every summer they call out competing teams from all over the state, and the lawn tennis court at Goddard College is the stage where men in white trousers and girls in peasant skirts and aprons strive to win the big silver cup. A couple of thousand Vermonters and summer visitors come to watch and applaud Money Musk, Hull’s Victory, Merry Merry Milkmaids, and dozens of similar dances done in the correct Vermont fashion.

Last summer the rising interest in this form of dance brought many out-of-staters, and Goddard College followed this success with the offer to sponsor a winter school with dormitory facilities for those coming from a distance. Emerson Lang of Danville directed the school, and its success assures annual repetitions.

Last night in Nelson, we danced a tremendous Money Musk to Dudley Laufman’s calling and the joyful accompaniment of four fiddles (Jacqueline Laufman, Dudley, Hunt Smith, and Sophie Orzechowski) and piano (Neil Orzechowski). Young and old, those who know the dance by heart, those doing it for the first time, we moved to the same notes and rhythms as the thousands who have danced before us. A good time was had by all.

Floating Bridge Music Camp Newfound Lake, NH

Floating Bridge Music Camp

September 17-19, 2010

Rodney Miller (fiddle), David Surette (guitar, mandolin), Susie Burke
(vocals, beg. guitar) and Jeremiah McLane (accordion, piano)

Contact: 802-765-9904 or

The staff:
Rodney Miller was designated a “Master Fiddler” in 1983 by the
National Endowment for the Arts. He is widely considered to be the
foremost exponent of New England style fiddling, a uniquely American
blend of French Canadian and Celtic influences. Over the past 35
years, he has toured the U.S., British Isles, Australia and Denmark,
performed and taught at hundreds of music and dance festivals, and
recorded over ten fiddle albums.

One of New England’s finest celtic guitarists, David Surette is
equally at home on the mandolin and bouzouki. He is head of the folk
department at the Concord, N.H. Community Music School and has also
taught at the Augusta Heritage Festival, The Swannanoa Gathering (NC)
and Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddle School in California.

Jeremiah McLane will teach accordion and piano players both melody and
accompaniment.. He has been on staff at numerous music programs
throughout the country including The Augusta Heritage Arts Center, The
Swananoah Gathering, Ashokan Fiddle & Dance, The John C. Campbell Folk
School, and Centrum’s American Festival of Fiddle Tunes. He teaches
world music and jazz studies at SUNY Plattsburgh.

Susie Burke is a singer with a truly magical voice and she will be
teaching from her huge repertoire of gorgeous songs. She will also be
working with beginning guitar students, and will lead the Sunday
morning sing.

The location:
Pasquaney Lodge is on the shore of Newfound Lake, between Bristol and
Plymouth New Hampshire. The facility includes three main buildings, a
boat house, tennis courts, a sauna, a dock, canoes, and a wonderful
porch for relaxing and jamming.

The schedule:
Friday evening after dinner there will be a short orientation meeting,
followed by a staff concert, and then jam sessions led by staff
members. Saturday morning workshops will be separated by instrument,
and Saturday afternoon workshops will be geared toward a particular
style or repertoire and you can go to whatever workshop you’re
interested in. After dinner on Saturday there will be the camp
cabaret which will be a chance for campers to perform. Sunday morning
we’ll have a singing session with the entire camp followed by a final
workshop. Camp ends after lunch. Meals include dinner on Friday and
Saturday nights, breakfast and lunch on Saturday & Sunday.

The cost:
$250 per person includes five meals, housing and all instructional
materials. Reduced Rates: $225 per person includes meals, instruction,
and dormitory-style housing or campsite. $190 per person for day use
only (meals and instruction)


To register, send a check for $250 payable to Jeremiah McLane by
August 30th to: Carol Delaney, 1130 Sanders Circle, Montpelier, VT 05602

Folknotes: July 2010

The Folklore Society has been on summer break, after a busy Fall, Winter and Spring season that saw many dances, concerts, and local celebrations. We’re gearing up for the coming Autumn and promise many fine events. Of course, the Nelson Monday Dance continues to create its magic every week, whether the Society is resting or not.

One item of note: The Nelson Second Saturday Dance will be held on the First Saturday in August: 8/7. Old Home Day happens to fall on the second Saturday this year, and therefore there are many reasons to move the dance forward by one week. Dudley and Jacqueline Laufman will provide music and calling for what’s become an August tradition just before Old Home Week. As has been true for many years, there will not be a Peterborough contra dance on the first Saturday in August while Monadnock Music takes over the Peterborough Town Hall.

If there are writers in our audience who would like to publish essays related to local folklore on this web site, please contact us: