☼ ☼ ☼ Tim Eriksen | Nelson Town Hall | Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Monadnock Folklore Society is excited to welcome back Tim Eriksen to the Nelson Town Hall for an afternoon concert on Sunday, May 28 at 3:00 PM. Admission is $25/$20 (senior/student/advance). Masks recommended.

Tim Eriksen is acclaimed for transforming American tradition with his startling interpretations of old ballads, love songs, shape-note gospel and dance tunes from New England and Southern Appalachia. He combines hair-raising vocals with inventive accompaniment on banjo, fiddle, guitar and bajo sexto – a twelve string Mexican acoustic bass – creating a distinctive hardcore Americana sound.

Photo of Nelson Town Hall

Music and Dance in the Nelson Town Hall – Recording Available 

Music and Dance in the Nelson Town Hall — The Myth, the Magic, the Truth

With Lisa Sieverts and Gordon Peery

A program of the Olivia Rodham Memorial Library.

Here is a link to the Nelson History Website page which features the video of this Zoom presentation from December 19, 2020.
In addition to the video, you’ll find other related articles and resources. 


☼ ☼ ☼ Windborne | Nelson Town Hall | December 6, 2019

Coming off two years as featured vocalists for Christmas Celtic Sojourn in Boston, as well as a collaboration with Nowell Sing We Clear, Windborne, known for their powerful vocal harmony and stunning original arrangements, presents songs of the season along with their diverse repertoire of music from around the world in this can’t-miss concert.  Windborne has collected and studied polyphonic vocal music for over 15 years from traditional singing masters from cultures around the world, Windborne is able to shift from radically different genres like no band you have ever heard, as comfortable with an improvised Corsican couplet son, as an English protest ballad from the 17th century. Lynn Mahoney Rowan, Will Thomas Rowan, Lauren Breunig, and Jeremy Carter-Gordon share a vibrant energy onstage – their connection to each other and to the music clearly evident. They educate as they entertain, telling stories about the music and explaining the characteristics and stylistic elements of the traditions in which they sing. Join us on Friday, December 6, 2019, 7:30 PM at the Nelson Town Hall for a concert of seasonal music. Admission is $18/$15(Sr/Jr).

While all four singers had other careers, ranging from trapeze artist to dance anthropologist, the outpouring of requests for performances led them to make spreading this music and message their full time work, and they are now touring across the US and UK.

“The best musical discovery of the year…Stunningly powerful vocal harmony in the tradition of the Watersons, The Voice Squad, and Coope, Boyes, and Simpson, Windborne sets a new bar for folk harmony singing today”

-Brian O’Donovan, National Public Radio

NH’s Contra Dance history focus of exhibit in Concord

The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, in partnership with the Monadnock Folklore Society and the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, is sponsoring an exhibit about the Granite State’s tradition of social dancing at the New Hampshire State Library from Oct. 14-Nov. 25, 2015.

“Traditional Dance and Music in New Hampshire: 1750-today” traces the long history of contra and social dance music throughout the region, especially in the southwestern part of the state.

Irish, Scottish, English and French Canadian traditions all contribute to New Hampshire’s dance traditions. Dances are similar to square dancing but are generally performed in lines to live music played by fiddles and piano. Banjos, mandolins and guitars may also be heard at contra dances.

Community social dances have been happening in New Hampshire continuously since before the Revolutionary War.

The exhibit features artifacts, documents, instruments, photographs and audio recordings.

There is no charge to view the exhibit. The New Hampshire State Library is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. A public reception will be held Wednesday, October 14, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

For more information about “Traditional Dance and Music in New Hampshire: 1750-today,” visit nh.gov/nharts.

The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts is a division of the New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources. It began in 1965 with legislation designed “to insure that the role of the arts in the life of our communities will continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the education and welfare of our citizens.” Funding for programs is provided through state appropriations, a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Conservation License Plate fund. Learn more about the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts at www.nh.gov/nharts.

NH Council Arts 50 years logo

☼ ☼ ☼ Gary Sredzienski | Nelson Town Hall

get-attachment-9.aspxGary Sredzienski returns to the Nelson Town Hall on Sunday, June 14 for a 7:00 pm concert. The concert will feature the versatility of the accordion and tales of the creek presented as only Gary can. His passion for music, the accordion, swimming, and life is infectious! Bring the family to this entertaining and educational performance by a true master. Admission is $12/$9(Sr/Jr).

Gary Sredzienski is an exceptionally versatile accordion player whose repertoire encompasses music from a wide range of world traditions and American music of the 1920s to 1950s. He also plays 1960’s surf rock, traditional ethnic, and his accordion compositions with his Portsmouth based group, the “Serfs.”

Gary has performed extensively in the United States and abroad in concert settings, festivals, and schools. In May of 2000 Gary was nominated by Congressman John Sununu to represent NH in a performance at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage in Washington DC. In July of 2000 he performed throughout Romania on a tour sponsored by the Smithsonian Folklife Center, the State Department, and the Governor Jeanne Shaheen of NH. He represented NH at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC in 1999, performed at the American and National folk festivals and was sent to Quebec City for its 400th anniversary as a musical ambassador for NH by Governor Lynch  and recently played for the inauguration of Governor Maggie Hassan.

Gary has released a number of solo recordings on his own Bellows Music label. His compositions and music have been featured in a number of feature films and television sound tracks including, Paramount’s “Bad News Bears” and “A Team”, Eddie Murphy’s “Meet Dave,” and multiple major network television sitcoms.

Gary hosts a weekly 1950’s style ethnic radio show, “Polka Party,” on WUNH-FM and has a devoted following. In 1990, he was sponsored by the Edgewood Center of Portsmouth and his radio show listeners to undertake a national tour, performing for 93 nursing homes in 15 states over a five-week period. He was named a ‘Point of Light’ for his efforts. An avid swimmer, in 2008 Gary was the first to swim to the Isle of Shoals in winter and since has raised over $65,000 for 7 different charities in 7 winter swims. The NH charitibles Foundation gave a grant to write, produce, and perform a play on Gary’s musical life and swimming adventures through the Harborlight Stage Theater Company entitled ‘Creekman….. The Adventures of the Accordion Playing Merman.’

☼ ☼ ☼ Contra Dancing in New Hampshire — Then and Now with Dudley Laufman

Jacqueline and Dudley photo by Ken Williams
Jacqueline and Dudley
photo by Ken Williams

The Monadnock Center for History and Culture has received a grant from the New Hampshire Humanities Council to present “Contra Dancing in New Hampshire — Then and Now” by Dudley Laufman on Saturday, March 14th at 10:00 AM, in Bass Hall at 19 Grove Street in Peterborough, NH.

This program is free and open to the public.

Since the late 1600s, the lively tradition of contra dancing has kept people of all ages swinging and sashaying in barns, town halls and schools around the state. Contra dancing came to New Hampshire by way of the English colonists and remains popular in many communities, particularly in the Monadnock Region. Presenter Dudley Laufman brings this tradition to life with stories, poems and recordings of callers, musicians, and dancers, past and present. Live music, always integral to this dance form, will be played on the fiddle and melodeon.

Presenter Dudley Laufman received the highest honor for traditional artists, the National Heritage Fellowship, in 2009. He received the 2001 NH Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 1999, Laufman and Jacqueline Laufman presented at the Smithsonian FolkLife Festival in Washington, DC. Laufman has been playing fiddle and calling for contra and square dances for 64 years. With his wife, Jacqueline Laufman, he authored Traditional Barn Dances and recorded several CDs.

The presentation is part of the exhibit running through May at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, titled “Gents Bow, Ladies Know How: Traditional Dance and Music in the Monadnock Region 1750-2015.” The exhibit traces the long history of traditional dance and music in southwestern New Hampshire from Colonial times to the present.

The New Hampshire Humanities Council nurtures the joy of learning and inspires community engagement by bringing life-enhancing ideas from the humanities to the people of New Hampshire. They connect people with ideas. Learn more about the Council and its work at www.nhhc.org.

For more information call 603-924-3235 or visit www.MonadnockCenter.org.

NH Humanities Council Logo

☼ ☼ ☼ “The Music of John Taggart” a history presentation by Randy Miller

Randy Miller, Photo by Joseph Andruskevich
Randy Miller, Photo by Joseph Andruskevich
The Monadnock Center for History and Culture and the Monadnock Folklore Society present Randy Miller speaking on the topic of “The Music of John Taggart” on Saturday, February 7th at 5:30 PM, in Bass Hall at 19 Grove Street in Peterborough, NH.

The talk is based on “Recollection of a Busy Life, the memoir of John Adams Taggart (1854–1943).” In it, Taggart portrays in rich detail his childhood, his family’s way of life, and many of their neighbors in the town of Sharon, New Hampshire.

He was the fifth generation Taggart to reside in Sharon. His father, Phineas Taggart (1812–1892) was a fiddler and dancing master in the 1830s and ’40s, teaching in all the surrounding towns.

Presenter Randy Miller is a fiddler and artist based in Alstead, NH. His music book, “The New England Fiddler’s Repertoire,” written with Jack Perron, is considered the best contemporary collection of New England fiddle tunes.

The presentation is part of the exhibit running through May at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, titled “Gents Bow, Ladies Know How: Traditional Dance and Music in the Monadnock Region 1750-2015.” The exhibit traces the long history of traditional dance and music in southwestern New Hampshire from Colonial times to the present.

The exhibit is sponsored by The Animal Care Clinic-Monadnock, with grant funding from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.

For more information call 603-924-3235 or visit www.MonadnockCenter.org.

The Monadnock Center for History and Culture is a community museum that has been dedicated to preserving and celebrating local history and culture since its founding in 1902. The Monadnock Folklore Society was founded in 1980 to increase the visibility of folk dance and music events in southern New Hampshire and provide educational services in the folk arts to the community. The Country Dance and Song Society is a national leader in promoting participatory dance, music and song that have roots in English and North American culture and their living traditions.

28th Annual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend Takes Place January 16-18, 2015 at UNH-Durham

The 28th Annual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend (RPDLW) is being held at the University of New Hampshire on January 16, 17 and 18, 2015. The annual three-day event features some of the finest callers and musicians from New England and across the country, and provides people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to dance and socialize in a warm and friendly setting. The RPDLW runs from 7:30pm on Friday evening until 4:00pm on Sunday afternoon. Attendees can register for the entire weekend, or pick-and-choose the sessions of interest to them. Both pre- and on-site-registration is available. The RPDLW takes place at the Memorial Union Building on the campus of the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. A complete schedule of events and registration information can be found at www.ralphpage.neffa.org.
Callers for the 2015 RPDLW are three well-known and accomplished professionals; David Millstone (also current President of the Country Dance and Song Society), Carol Ormand and Mary Wesley. Each of these dance masters is known for their clear calling style and genuine connection with the dancers. David, Carol and Mary will be accompanied by three fabulous bands: Rodney Miller and Friends (Rodney Miller, David Surette and Gordon Peery); Riptide (Alden Robinson, Owen Marshall and Glen Loper); and the Sugar River String Band (Jane Orzechowski & family and Deanna Stiles), for the Friday night dance.
A very special part of the Weekend each year is the Retrospective on Saturday that highlights a prominent caller, musician or dance style. The 2015 Retrospective will focus on: One Hundred Years of CDSS (the Country Dance and Song Society). This special session will focus on the important
role of this organization, and their contributions & influences to the world of traditional dance.
In addition, there will be Workshops on calling, music and dance for those who wish to hone their craft or improve their skills in any of these areas. Workshops are lead by the talented callers and
musicians on staff for this Weekend.
The Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend is sponsored by the Ralph Page Memorial Committee of
the New England Folk Festival Association (NEFFA), and the Milne Special Collections at the University of New Hampshire Library.
The full weekend adult fee is $80 (lodging and meals not included). Admission to individual sessions may be purchased a-la-carte:
o $13 each: Fri. evening; Sat. morning; Sat. afternoon; Sun. morning. o $8: Sun. afternoon.
o $20: Saturday night.
o Children under 12 are free.
o See web site for additional discount opportunities!
For more information on the Weekend, its schedule and registration; please go to www.ralphpage.neffa.org. Further details may also be obtained by contacting Dave Bateman, Ralph Page Committee Chairperson, at 603-397-0042 or rpdlw.registrar@comcast.net.

Exhibit Opening: Traditional Dance and Music in the Monadnock Region 1750-2015

The Monadnock Center for History and Culture and the Monadnock Folklore Society jointly present an exhibit that will open on January 24th, 2015 and run through mid-May.

The exhibit demonstrates that traditional dance and music, primarily contra and square dance, have been part of the regular lives of residents of the Monadnock region in southwestern New Hampshire since the time of the Colonial settlements in the mid-1700s. The exhibit explores the living history of traditional dance and music through audio, newspaper articles, musical instruments, and books, as well as a series of public events.

Monadnock Center for History and Culture
19 Grove Street
Peterborough NH 03458

☼ ☼ ☼ Nowell Sing We Clear | Dublin Community Church

NSWC portrait

Monadnock Folklore Society’s annual presentation of this seasonal favorite!  Absolutely the best way to start your holiday season. Music, dance, a mummer’s play and delicious treats!

Dublin Community Church

Friday, December 5, 2014

8:00 pm

Admission $15/$12(Sr/Jr)

Nowell Sing We Clear with its unusual songs, carols, stories, and customs has toured every year since 1975. 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 song sheets 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.This year the ensemble will be playing as far south as West Chester, PA, and as far north as Brattleboro, VT.   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 Nowell, Nowell, Nowell. Others are Just Say Nowell, Hail Smiling Morn (which has a cover designed by famous Vermont artist, Mary Azarian), Nowell SingWe Four,  and Nowell, Nowell, Nowell. 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.