FolkNotes: January

From November 1981 thru February 1983 the Monadnock Folklore Society produced a monthly newsletter. Most of the issues survived, and over the last couple of weeks we’ve scanned them so that they are available on this Web site. The project provided a heartening reminiscence of a bygone era: each issue included a regional folk calendar listing which included the Folkway and Deacon Brodie’s Tavern, as well as an impressive roster of MFS performers including Jean Redpath, George Winston, Alex de Grassi, the Battlefield Band, and many more. Each issue also contained articles and editorials – topics included musicians profiles (Allan Block, Chris Pearne), a foreboding about the demise of contra dancing (When the Set Gets Shorter), a history of Cape Breton music, and more. We were privileged to have Irish novelist Morgan Llywelyn contribute several pieces on Celtic lore. The February 1983 issue gave extensive coverage to the Folkway in celebration of its 8th anniversary. Whether you were an active part of the local folk scene and want to reminisce, or you are more recently tuned in, we think you’ll enjoy browsing these issues).


The transition to the New Year gives us an excuse to review the more immediate past of the last year: MFS produced several well-attended concerts, giving audiences enriching experiences while demonstrating some of the breadth of the genre of “folk music”. It was a phenomenal year for dancing; during the summer the Monday night dance drew record crowds of young people (there is now a Facebook community for the Nelson Dance with 45 members), and experienced dancers have done a good job of being welcoming to newcomers. The Peterborough First Saturday dance is thriving, and there is now a Second Saturday dance in Nelson. Matthew Christian, the recipient of the 2007 Johnny Trombley Scholarship, give a great performance at the opening of the Winter Solstice Party on December 22, doing sets on highland pipes, fiddle, and whistle. This marks the sixth year of the scholarship program.


Looking ahead, in addition to continuing concerts and dances, this Website enables us to more effectively deliver information about events. Many of the pages for events contain music snippets, so you can get a little preview of what’s in store (see the PR page for the Nelson dance with Don Primrose and Heathen Creek, as an example). We are also including calendar information for non-MFS folk music events in the area; while there might be some occassions where there are competing events, it makes this a more useful Web site for those who want to scope out what’s going on.


We now have a way to present articles, profiles of recordings and musicians, and more. For example, we just came across an article about contra dancing in Nelson, published in the Boston Globe in 1969! Fun stuff.

It also provides an additional means of participation for those who are so inclined. Most articles contain a “comments” option which allows users of the Web site to respond to a particular topic with their own insights and observations (you must register on the site to comment, but we won’t sell your email address or turn it over to Homeland Security). We also welcome pictures, video links, and of course, ideas: Write to us.  

On behalf of the MFS Board, we wish you prosperity of spirit for the coming year.

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