☼ Contra Dance: Nelson NH Town Hall | Caller: Rick Mohr | Music: Bill Thomas, Matt Harris, Gordon Peery

Saturday, January 12th
Beginner’s Workshop 7:30Rick Mohr
Dance 8:00 – 11:30
Admission: $8 / $6 seniors, students
For information: 603.827.3044 or E-mail: Lisa Sieverts

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


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.

☼ Contra Dance: Nelson NH Town Hall | Caller: Nils Fredland | Music: Harvey Tolman and Bob McQuillen

Nelson, NH
Saturday, February 9
Beginner’s Workshop 7:30
Dance 8:00 – 11:30
Admission: $8 / $6 seniors, students
Information: 603.827.3044  
or E-mail: Lisa Sieverts
Download the Poster

“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

☼ ☼ ☼ Christmas Night Dance | Nelson Town Hall

It’s the 10th annual Christmas Night dance at the Nelson Town Hall. Amy Cann and Bob McQuillen will provide tunes with the normal Nelson variety of callers. Festivities begin at 8:00 pm. There will be a dessert potluck afterwards so bring treats. Admission is free — the Monadnock Folklore Society sponsors this dance as a gift to the community.

Once upon a time, in the town of Nelson, a wonderful tradition was born.

Ten years ago or so, the callers and dancers at a Monday Nite Contra Dance
realized that Christmas was going to fall on a Monday that year.  Imagine
the dilemma!  Nelson has always held a public contra dance on Monday nights.
If they were to skip Christmas, then the world record would end.  Not
wishing to jeopardize the record, and wishing to see good friends and family
again, the tradition began!

It’s a Christmas night dance.  It starts at the usual 8pm time.  This year
Bob McQuillen will be on piano, Amy Cann will be on fiddle with plenty of
guest musicians and callers.  It’s always a good night!

One year we had three feet of snow.  But Bob McQuillen drove up for the
dance, Don Primrose showed up to call and there was a family visiting from
New York that wanted to dance on Christmas Day.  We couldn’t get into the
hall because of the snow, so we moved the furniture from our living room and
Bob played his accordion.  That night was my favorite of all the Christmas

This story about one of Nelson’s traditions was submitted by Val Van Meier.

☼ ☼ ☼ Contra Dance CANCELLED| Nelson | Nils Fredland, Caller | Music by Rodney Miller, Sarah Bauhan, and Gordon Peery


Saturday, December 13th
Beginner’s Workshop 7:30
Dance 8:00 – 11:30
Admission: $8 / $6 seniors, students

For information: 603.762.0235 or E-mail: Lisa SievertsNils Fredland lends his distinct calling to an evening of contra dancing supported by world-class fiddler Rodney Miller, and New England legend, flute and whistle player Sarah Bauhan, accompanied by Gordon Peery on piano. Sure to be a high-energy event to propel you through the holiday season.