Folknotes: October

Imagine that you’re singing with a group of people, and you’re channeling a unique and exquisite harmony. You pause, just to breathe, but you hear your voice continue. You look around and discover the person that will be one of your band mates for the next thirty years. That’s precisely what happened to Kim Wallach when she was spending a year at Wesleyan. It was a case of a Wellesleyan going to Wesleyan.  Kim had gone there in part to study under Jean Redpath who was doing a residency there. The synergistic voice she heard belonged to Kate Seeger.

Back at Wellesley College, Kim met Fay Baird, who produced a linoleum engraving for a broadside in an antique printing class (this later became the logo for Kim’s “Black Socks” music label). Their acquaintance was renewed later when Fay walked into a music store where Kim was working. Fay had taken up the banjo and cultivated an interest in Shape Note singing. Their friendship was renewed and they began exploring common musical interests.

Another customer at the store was Lorraine (then Lee) Hammond. Kim didn’t have enough time off to go home to New Jersey for Thanksgiving, so she ended up at Lorraine’s, which proved to be a sort of musician’s center of the universe. The circle that Kim came into was enriching and influential to her musical journey.

Eventually Kim, Fay, and Kate got together, forming the Short Sisters, and as the expression goes, magic happened. Their lives have since come to include families and careers (Fay is a hydrologist, Kate is a camp director, and Kim teaches music), but they still continue to perform. The natural connections are there, and they are bonded by the same sense of humor, but this does not mean that their work is effortless. As Kim says, “You need a certain comfort level to make a lot of mistakes – in order to find a good harmony you need to sing a lot of bad notes.”

Kim brightens when she talks about her colleagues, and you can tell that she’s excited about their upcoming tour which includes Brockton, Belmont, and Springfield, Massachusetts; Hyde Park, New York . . . And . . . Nelson, New Hampshire, where the Monadnock Folklore Society is very pleased to be presenting the Short Sisters in concert in the Nelson Town Hall on Sunday, October 12th.


The Nelson Second-Saturday contra dance continues this month on October 11th, with the incredible band Celticladda. Featuring Randy Miller on fiddle, Eric Anderson innovating on the ivories, and the rich and unique guitar work of Tom Hodgson. This band has been touring coast to coast in the recent years, leaving a wake of stellar reviews and stimulated dancers. Who better to lends some calls to this dynamic music than our own Jeff Petrovitch, who demonstrates no lack of energy and enthusiasm as he presents a diverse repertoire of dances.

Come back to the Nelson Town Hall on Sunday, October 19th for the Nelson Coffeehouse. Reviving a tradition that prevailed in the 1970’s, MFS is pleased to provide a venue for singers, songwriters, instrumentalists, poets, novelists, and yes, even hula hoop artists! If you’d like to perform, please
send us an email (or you can just show up and put your name on the roster). Bring a dessert to share, or a $5 donation. Coffee and other beverages are provided.

We’ve made a couple of changes to this web site in an ongoing effort to make it easier to navigate and also to provide interesting stuff. The most obvious is the addition of the Galleries page, where we have several slide shows representing various MFS events. Thanks to Rich Rommer, Val Van Meier, and Dave Eisenstadter for many of the photos. If your interested in submitting photos, please drop us a line.

We do our best to include listings of all folk music related events in the greater Monadnock Region. It is amazing to see all that is happening in this genre alone, and we know that our audience appreciates an wider range of cultural activities, which often makes it difficult to decide what to do. We appreciate the support which has allowed MFS to serve the community for nearly thirty years (like the Short Sisters!). We’re proud of our efforts, and look forward to seeing you soon at a concert, dance, or coffeehouse. And feel free to write to usto let us know how we’re doing.

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