Hancock Bandstand | Rodney Miller, David Surrette, Gordon Peery

 An Evening of Celtic and New England Fiddle Tunes

Fiddler Rodney Miller is joined by guitarist David Surette and pianist Gordon Peery for the final program of the Hancock summer bandstand concert series. The concert is on Thursday August 14th and starts at 7:00 on the Hancock NH Common. This concert is free and open to all. The trio will perform a concert of Celtic and New England fiddle tunes.

Rodney Miller was designated a “Master Fiddler” in 1983 by the National Endowment for the Arts. He is widely considered to be the foremost exponent of New England style fiddling, a uniquely American blend of French Canadian and Celtic influences. Over the past 35 years, he has toured the U.S., British Isles, Australia and Denmark, performed and taught at hundreds of music and dance festivals, and recorded over ten fiddle albums.

In 1999, Rodney represented the state of New Hampshire, playing traditional fiddle music at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. He has also appeared on Garrison Keillor’s National Public Radio show “A Prairie Home Companion,” performed live with the Twyla Tharp Modern Dance Company, performed at the Lincoln Center in New York, and was recorded on the album Songs and Sounds of the Sea for the National Geographic Society.

Most recently, Rodney has been named New Hampshire Artist Laureate, a two-year position bestowed by Governor Maggie Hassan.

David Surette is regarded as one of New England’s most accomplished guitarists in the folk tradition.  His solo albums “Back Roads” and “Trip to Kemper” have to establish him as a top player and arranger of Celtic fingerstyle guitar, yet his diverse repertoire also includes original compositions, blues and ragtime, traditional American roots music, and folk music from a variety of traditions, all played with finesse, taste, and virtuosity.

He also plays regularly with fiddler Rodney Miller, with whom he performed at the 1999 Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife, and with whom he has released two recordings. In addition to performing and recording, David maintains an active teaching schedule, and is head of the folk department at the Concord (NH) Community Music School.

Gordon Peery is known for his energetic and orchestral style of piano accompaniment for New England contra dance music. His playing has taken him throughout Europe, and, with Rodney Miller, he participated in the 10th Annual Shetland Islands Music Festival in 1987. He had the privilege to perform with the Irish band The Chieftains at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, but considers it an equal honor to share the stage with a variety of local musicians at the regular Nelson Monday night contra dance.

While Gordon and David have both played individually with Rodney, their performances as a trio are rare. They are looking forward to the summer evening setting of the Hancock bandstand to deliver a performance that will have a delightful blend of polish and spontaneity.


Scandinavian Midsummer Celebration | Jaffrey

The First Church in Jaffrey invites the public to its third annual Scandinavian Midsummer Celebration with traditional music and dancing around the Midsummer Pole on Saturday, June 22, from 10:30 a.m. to noontime, on the Meetinghouse Common in Jaffrey Center at Laban Ainsworth Way and NH Rte. 124.

The First Church Midsummer Celebration will again be led by noted fiddler, soprano, and folklorist Andrea Larson, who loves the Scandinavian traditions of folklore and music. Andrea Larson has performed Swedish folk music and dance in theaters, museums, churches and schools in the U.S., Great Britain and Sweden. She teaches violin at her home in Wilton, NH. First Church Minister of Music Gene Faxon will accompany her on accordion. The Rev. Robert R. Kyte of First Church will welcome the gathering.

The Finnish folk dance group Revontulet from Fitchburg, MA will perform inside the Meetinghouse for the second year. “Revontulet”, meaning Northern Lights, has been performing for more than 50 years, dedicated to the promotion of Finnish dance traditions. The dances, music and traditional dress are those worn in Finland during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Midsummer celebrates the summer solstice, when daylight lasts until late in the evening. In parts of Northern Europe the sun never sets this time of the year. On Midsummer Eve, each community will raise a Midsummer Pole decorated with birch branches and wildflowers. Families gather to enjoy an afternoon of traditional music and dancing.
First Church parishioners will raise the Midsummer Pole on the Meetinghouse Common in front of the First Church in Jaffrey, which is two miles west of the junction of Routes 202 and 124 in downtown Jaffrey. Wildflower wreaths will be available for people to wear. There will be live music and dancing, and cookies and lemonade will be served.

In the Swedish tradition, First Church on Sunday, June 23 will celebrate St. John the Baptist Sunday, commemorating the date of his birth in the church calendar.


Northern Roots Weekend | Dummerston VT


Traditional Music 3-Day Workshop
for adults & teens (high school age teens)

Hosted by Keith Murphy & Becky Tracy
With Shanon Heaton, Irish Flute and
Tina Lech, Irish Fiddle

July 6-8, 2012
5 pm Friday through 2 pm Sunday
Green Mountain Camp, Dummerston, VT

The Northern Roots Weekend features a series of intensive teaching workshops in traditional music for all instruments, with a focus on fiddle, flute, whistle, guitar and song. Some experience in traditional music required and a recording device is recommended.

A dance band workshop will review the basics of playing for contra dancing but will also be an opportunity to form mini ensembles and experiment with arranging. Evening dancing will be a chance for musicians to play for dancing and to enjoy a good romp on the floor.

The Northern Roots Weekend will will also feature pub and ballad style singing and is a wonderful chance to enjoy informal jam sessions in a lovely country setting (with swimming) in Dummerston, Vermont at Green Mountain Camp, located just 10 minutes from downtown Brattleboro.

Camp begins Friday at 5pm through Sunday at 1pm with wonderful meals provided beginning with Friday supper through Sunday brunch. Rustic cabin accommodation available and also good camping.

Cost: $240 / Includes all workshops, 5 meals and 2 nights cabin lodging (if desired) / $60 deposit
Register now by calling the Brattleboro Music Center at 802-257-4523 or visit: http://bmcvt.org/summer/northern-roots-weekend

Workshop with Lissa Schneckenburger | Concord NH

Workshops at the Concord Community Music School, (23 Wall St in Concord NH).

Performance Craft Master Class:
Three workshops on May 17th, June 14th, and July 19th

This class is for musicians who are interested in becoming better performers, and is open to all levels, instruments, and musical styles. Whether you are a beginning musician who has never played in front of other people before, or an accomplished professional with years of experience, there is always a way to find new satisfaction in sharing music with others. In the course of three sessions we will look at what makes a good performance, and how to improve your own. The class will include performance tips, exercises, examples, and a chance to perform in front of the class with group feedback. Please bring a recording device to each session, and come with a short piece of music prepared to play in class.

Register on line at http://www.ccmusicschool.org/

Wyman Tavern 250th Anniversary | Keene

The Wyman Tavern is celebrating its 250th Anniversary this summer.

To begin the celebration, the Historical Society of Cheshire County will host a Birthday Festival at the Wyman Tavern (339 Main Street, Keene) on June 16th from 11 am to 4 pm.  The festival will include crafts and foods from the Wyman Tavern period(1762-1815), re-enactors in period dress, 18th Century games, storytelling, and music from the period provided by Allison Aldrich, Hunt Smith, members of the Contra Dance band, “Trip to Nelson” (Richard and Lizza Backes and Matt Garland), young musicians from the Waldorf High School on Harp (Lily Hanft) and fiddle (Perrin Ellsworth-Heller) and others.

Admission is by donation (suggested donation: $5/person, $10/family).  Period dress encouraged but not required.  For more information, contact Kathy Schillemat at 603-352-1895 or hscc@hsccnh.org.

Katie Trautz and the Tall Boys with Rusty Belle | Brattleboro

Headroom Stages, 17 Elliot St., Brattleboro
$10 at the door
Doors open at 7pm
Music at 7:30pm
Katie Trautz and the Tall Boys: The band features fiddle, guitar, banjo, pedal steel, suitcase drum set and bass, performing original music, old-time, and honky-tonk. The band is touring to celebrate its recent release of a 5-song EP. The group is composed of some of Vermont’s finest musicians including: Michael Roberts (guitar) of Wooden Dinosaur, Asa Brosious (Pedal Steel), Nate Gusakov (Banjo) and his brother Will Gusakov (drums).


Rusty Belle began with the quiet determination to make unique music. Starting in their living rooms and working their way through coffee shops, bars, clubs, listening rooms, concert halls, and festival stages, they developed a style all their own. Rusty Belle swings easily from sweet, simple melodies, whiskey lullabies, blood ballads, busted bluegrass, and folk-punk anthems, to tongue-in-cheek sleaze-rock, glossy-mag candy-pop, and down-home porch-tunes. The remarkable thing is that its all done with honesty and respect for the music. Their shows are never predictable and always dynamic. At their best they will bring to you sweet nostalgia, swaggering poise, drunken logic, and grimy dancing before sending you home with a gentle “goodnight.”

Fiddle Camp North, April in Mass.

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to have fun and learn more on your fiddle?

If you did, I’d like to invite you to attend Fiddle Camp North, April 13-15, Charleton, MA. Even if you didn’t, join us anyway! We’ll have an enjoyable variety of workshops and jams at multiple levels and in different styles to keep you happy for the weekend.

Fiddle Camp North is a weekend-long celebration of the Fiddle in Bluegrass, Old Time, Irish, Cape Breton, and New England styles! Our goal is learning — and having a great time doing so!

I’m the Fiddle Coordinator and will be teaching quite a few workshops.  Our staff will include Alan Kaufman, Skip Gorman, Martin Grosswendt, and possibly more instructors.  All are traditional players with excellent teaching and performing experience. We generally teach by ear, but many classes will have handouts also.

Fiddle Camp North is held in conjunction with Mandolin Camp North. The two Camps will be held at Prindle Pond Conference Center, a beautiful wooded setting in Charlton, Massachusetts.  Buildings are heated, and meals (including vegetarian option) are provided as part of the tuition package. Thursday night lodging is available for those traveling a long way, whether driving or flying to FCN.

The Camps will open Friday at 12:30 PM for registration, jamming, and instruction. We’ll have hands-on workshops, round robin demonstrations and guided jam sessions (at multiple levels) for three days, a Friday night “meet the faculty concert,” a formal concert Saturday night, and lots of time for jamming and getting to know each other. If you’re there for Fiddle Camp, it’s fine to attend any of the Mandolin Camp sessions as well that pique your interest. Fiddle and mandolin are tuned the same.

Most of the classes are hands on, practical learning situations, covering different styles and repertoire, bowing techniques, improvising, chords, and many more topics. A few are demonstrations or mini-concerts, but even in these classes the intention is for you to take something away that you may want to learn or speak with the instructors about later. You are encouraged to bring a recording device (such as an MP3 recorder).

Details and registration are at http://www.FiddleCampNorth.com .  Please register through that website, although we’ll have a Facebook event up soon for Fiddle Camp North.

If this is your first time at Fiddle Camp North or Mandolin Camp North, Mike Holmes (our esteemed Camp Director) has generously offered a $100 discount if you register by February 19th.

Dave Reiner