MFS 2007 Concerts

The Monadnock Folklore Society presented the following concerts in 2007.
Check into this Web site for updates on great concerts for 2008.  

12/7 Nowell Sing We Clear

In its 33rd year, this event has become a local tradition in its own right – a celebration of songs, carols, stories, and customs. The program consists of two parts; Part 1, The Christmas Story (as you may never have heard it before); Part 2, a look at more pagan traditions around the time of the solstice.

Drawn largely 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, g

11/30 John McCutcheon

John McCutcheon, “Virginia’s rustic renaissance man” (Washington Post) will be featured in a concert sponsored by the Monadnock Folklore Society on November 30th at 8:00 PM at the NelsonTown Hall.

McCutcheon mastered the banjo, guitar, fiddle, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, and jaw harp. He became a knowledgeable and powerful singer of traditional material, with a wry wit and ear for a good story. But his real mastery was in his uncanny ability to see the meaning in the mundane, to lay out the horizons in one’s own backyard.

McCutcheon’s concert audiences join together professionals and factory hands, folk music veterans and novices, children and grandparents alike, who find his blend of song and story, humor and pathos, contemporary and traditional an exhilarating celebration of Americana. “The pithy insight of Will Rogers, the understated delivery of Garrison Keillor, the song leading ability of Pete Seeger, and the virtuosity of an orchestra … John McCutcheon is a national folk treasure!” exclaims a Bay Area newspaper. “Little feats of magic,” declared a Midwest concert reviewer. “The most overwhelming folk performer in the English language,” lauded an Australian reviewer.


One of the latest hip young alt-traditional bands to emerge to from the potent Boston fiddle music scene. The acoustic quartet features the beautiful voice of Liz Simmons, a New Hampshire native and protege of famed Irish singer Karan Casey. Liz has performed with the group North Cregg from Co. Cork, as well as the U.S. based band The Sevens. Liz is joined by fiddle ace Brendan Carey Block (formerly of the Glengarry Bhoys), guitarist/vocalist Flynn Cohen (who has toured and recorded with John Whelan, Adrienne Young, Aoife Clancy, Halali, Cathie Ryan, and others), and bass player/banjo picker Stuart Kenney (Wild Asparagus, Airdance, Karen Tweed). Together, their music combines Anglo-Celtic ballad singing and fiddle music traditions with their North American counterparts-Appalachia and Cape Breton­all with a groove-centric contemporary flair.

6/8 The Other Way Back: Dancing With Dudley

David Millstone’s new documentary about Dudley Laufman– “The Other Way Back: Dancing with Dudley,” will be shown at a special viewing presented by the Monadnock Folklore Society on Friday night, June 8th at 8:00 PM at the Dublin School Recital Hall on the Dublin School campus in Dublin, NH.  “The Other Way Back” is a full-length documentary about dance musician and caller Dudley Laufman, one of the most important figures in the history of the contemporary contra dance scene. The screening of the film will be followed by a question and answer period with the filmmaker.

Musician and caller Dudley Laufman was the charismatic figure at the center of a dance revival in the late 1960s and 1970s whose effects can still be seen in today’s vibrant contra dance scene. If it was Ralph Page who preserved the traditional dances of the Monadnock region and shared them with a new audience in the post-WWII years, then it was Dudley who extended that audience dramatically in the late 1960s and 1970s as leader of the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra.  Those seminal recordings brought traditional New England dance tunes to musicians around the country . Indeed, “Dudley dancers” from that era were responsible for spreading interest in traditional New England dancing to all parts of the United States, from San Diego to St. Louis to Seattle, from Knoxville and Bloomington to Houston and Lansing

6/2 Sally Rogers, Howie Bursen, and Jeff Davis

Sally and Howie are a couple of highly energized musicians who have appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION” public radio show, toured from coast to coast, and have produced over a dozen recordings, together and individually.

Sally Rogers has achieved national recognition as a solo performer. FRETS magazine says her voice is “clear as the queen’s diamonds”, while the WASHINGTON POST brands her instrumental work “sterling”. The BOSTON GLOBE said, “Rogers seemed to have her set almost perfectly in sync, moving her crowd deftly from tears to laughter.”

Howie Bursen is known for his warm baritone voice, devilish sense of humor, inventive guitar arrangements, and red-hot banjo wizardry. CHICAGO MAGAZINE said, “stunning guitar arrangements. ..easily one of the finest banjo players ever heard.”

Jeff Davis is one of the foremost living interpreters of traditional folk music.  Jeff communicates his profound affection for and understanding of rural American music in his wonderful interpretations of old-time songs and his distinctive instrumental work on guitar, fiddle, banjo,  mandocello, and piano.

5/11 Cindy Kallet with Grey Larsen

Cindy Kallet and Grey Larsen, each well-known and loved for their decades of music making, have joined musical forces in a new duo. Cindy is a superb singer, guitarist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Grey is one of America’s finest players of the Irish flute and tin whistle, as well as an accomplished singer and concertina, fiddle, piano and harmonium player. As composers each has contributed to the unique tapestry of contemporary folk and world music as it exists and flourishes in America today. Together, they weave songs and tunes of vibrant color and rich texture.

The duo’s repertoire includes Cindy’s sparkling original songs, distinctive settings of traditional Irish music, Scandinavian fiddle duets, old-time fiddle and guitar tunes from southern Indiana, and new music that Cindy and Grey are inventing together. There is plenty of variety and breadth of musical territory here, all deeply rooted in folk traditions, and interwoven with the renaissance and baroque counterpoint in which both Cindy and Grey, coincidentally, were immersed while growing up. Included are vocal duets, guitar, Irish flute, Irish alto flute, tin whistle, concertina, harmonium, and duet fiddling, and plenty of stories that put the music into a personal context.

4/28 Ian Robb

Ian Robb’s musical roots were in choral music; as a boy soprano in London, England, he sang for a couple of years with one of the Westminster abbey choirs. Later, as a teenager in the sixties, he discovered the British folk music revival, and honed his skills as an interpreter of folk song, not to mention his powerful voice, in the pub-based British folk club environment.

Moving to Canada in 1970, Ian soon became a regular at Toronto’s venerable and now defunct Fiddler’s Green folk club, and was a founding member of the now well-known Friends of Fiddler’s Green, who are currently in their 33rd year of performing together. Early in the seventies, he took up the English concertina, and is now recognized as one of North America’s premier exponents of the instrument in song accompaniment and dance music.

More recently, Ian has teamed up with fellow Ottawans Shelley Posen and Ann Downey, to form the vocal harmony trio, Finest Kind, whose eclectic mixture of hair-raising vocal harmony styles has been recorded on Lost in a Song (1996), Heart’s Delight (1999) and Silks & Spices (2003).  Since early 2003, he has also been working with the Ottawa band JiiG, with the multiple musical talents of James Stephens, Greg T. Brown and Ian Clark.

4/3  Gordon Bok

Gordon Bok grew up around the boatyards of Camden, Maine, and worked on many different boats from fishing boats to passenger schooners to yachts, on his own coast and others.  As he sailed, he learned songs and ballads of the sea and the schooners and the fishes and fishermen.  Later he sang of mythical sea folk, seals and selkies who came to him in dreams and legends.  At a time when folk music was experiencing a great revival, he was a leader in preserving, collecting, creating and sharing a wide variety of rich and intensely beautiful songs of both land and sea.  His mastery of both the 6- and 12-string guitars added to his already well-developed vocal_expression to create an unmistakable style that has carried him through decades of being one of our most cherished folk artists.  He has made more than a score of albums, and many other musicians, including Archie Fisher, Liam Clancy and Tommy Makem, have recorded his songs.  In addition, his music has been used in films and published in folk music anthologies, including Rise Up Singing- and his own collections, Time and The Flying Snow and One To Sing, One To Haul.

3/17 Gary Sredzienski, Accordion Warrier

Gary Sredzienski demonstrates the diversity of the piano accordion with a wide variety of styles encompassing several continents. His solo recordings on his own Bellows Music label have landed him national performances with various cultural organizations.  In May of 2000 Gary was nominated by Congressman John Sununu to represent NH in a performance at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.  In July of 2000 he performed throughout Romania on a tour sponsored by the Smithsonian Folklife Center, the State Department, and the Governor of NH.  He is continually involved in recording projects.

In addition to performing for choral and dance groups, Gary performs 1960s surf rock, traditional ethnic, and his accordion compositions with the Portsmouth based group, the “Serfs”.  He was awarded an Arts Fellowship from the NH State Council on the Arts in 1997 and received the Artist Achievement Award by Seacoast Newspapers in 2002.  Gary represented NH at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 1999 and the Lowell National Folk Festival in 2003.

Gary also hosts a 1950’s style ethnic radio show, ”Polka Party” weekly at WUNH-FM in Durham.