All Comers Band

The All-Comers Band is a merry assemblage of musicians who play for the Belfast Flying Shoes Community Dance at 6:30pm every first Friday.

As the name implies, musicians of all ages, levels, and instruments are encouraged to participate. We are a diverse and joyful group—ages 2 to 82, rank beginners to seasoned professionals, any type of melody or rhythm instrument! The All-Comers Band is a great way to hone your skills playing for dancers. Since ear-playing is emphasized, written music is not provided. (But, some players do bring sheet music and others peer over their shoulders.)2

Admission to the Community Dance is free for All-Comers musicians. (All-Comers also get discounted admission to the Contras.) Just show up and play!

The All-Comers Band is joyfully led by the Gawler Family (Molly, Edith, Elsie, John & Ellen Gawler and Bennett Konesni) Sometimes a couple of Gawlers lead the ACB, and sometimes it’s all six of them!

Tunes are chosen on the spot from a common Northeast contra repertoire, especially the classic Maine dance tunes. Our goal is to play great music at dance speed–and have FUN!

More info? Contact belfastflyingshoes@gmail.com

A Partial Playlist:

Girl Medley: Girl I Left Behind Me, Kitchen Girl
Boy Medley: Jamie Allen, Sandy Boys
Color Medley: White Cockade, Rose Tree, Green Mt. Petronella
Mean Medley: Shove That Pig’s Foot a Little Further in the Fire, Nail That Catfish to a Tree
French Canadian Medley: L’Oiseau Bleu, Reel de Semeur

  • Reels: Seneca Square Dance, Liza Jane, Flop Eared Mule, Dancing Bear, Angeline the Baker, Liberty, Home with the Girls in the Morning, Over the Waterfall, Juliann Johnson, Crooked Stovepipe, Redwing
  • Jigs: Moon and Seven Stars. Cock of the North, Off She Goes, Smash the Windows, Fair Jenny’s, Jefferson and Liberty, Hundred Pipers, Kesh
  • Marches: Coleman’s, St. Timothy, Mairi’s Wedding, Jamie Allen
  • French Canadian: Reel de Montreal, Pays de Haut, Deuxieme Partie, La Maison de Glace, La Bastringue, Joys of Quebec, Gaspe Reel
  • Polkas: Dennis Murphy, John Ryan, Peg O’Brien
  • Waltzes: Ash Grove, Sheebeg Sheemore, Far Away, Amelia, Haapavesi

Links and resources

Other places to play & learn:

  • Belfast Bay Fiddlers – Weekly music jam for all levels and instruments Sundays 6-8 pm at Waterfall Arts in Belfast. Website has an extensive collection of written music and audio clips.
  • Celtic Jam – Thursday nights 6:30-9 at Darby’s in Belfast
  • Maine Fiddle Camp – Weekend and week-long music camp sessions for all ages in June and August in Montville, ME
  • Looking for private lessons? Greater Belfast is home to many excellent teachers of traditional dance music, including Maine Fiddle Camp staff.

Tune Books:

  • Portland Collection Vols. 1, 2 & 3 – Songer
  • New England Fiddler’s Repertoire – Miller
  • Fiddler’s Fakebook – Brody
  • The Waltz Book Vols. I, II, III, & IV – Matthiesen