Blog

Road Trip! Follow Henry Road to the Belfast Flying Shoes Contra Dance Friday, September 1, 2017, with Caller Chrissy Fowler

Join us for contra dancing at American Legion Post #43, 143 Church Street in Belfast! The evening begins at 6:30 pm with a Community Dance called by Chrissy Fowler and with music by the All-Comers Band. All musicians are welcome to sit in. Fun and simple dances will be taught, giving beginners the opportunity to learn new skills and offering experienced dancers a chance to brush up on their steps. The Contra Dance begins at 8:00 pm.

Chrissy Fowler

This month’s caller is Belfast’s own Chrissy Fowler. A founder and leading light of the Belfast Flying Shoes dance series, Chrissy spreads the joy of contra dancing also at schools, community gatherings, and private events. With wit and good cheer, she keeps things spicy enough for veteran dancers while making novices feel equally welcome. Sharing the Flying Shoes stage with Chrissy will be:

Jamie Oshima, John Pranio, Glen Loper (l to r)

Henry Road

The product of countless living-room jam sessions at the Pranio-Oshima house in Whitefield, this longtime Flying Shoes favorite proves that Maine’s rural byways lead to hidden realms of musical ferment. Fiddler and bluesy harmonicist John Pranio is known for his elegant musicianship, unerring good taste, and tireless efforts to inject Beatles music into the contradance repertoire. Globetrotting ambassador of mandolin cool Glen Loper adds the melodic inventiveness, bounce, and drive dancers will recognize from his other bands, Frigate and Riptide. Multi-instrumental phenom Jamie Oshima never fails to surprise with his ever-expanding range and virtuosity, but if you want to get blown away in advance, check out his Youtube clips. Holy mackerel!

John Pranio—fiddle & harmonica
Glen Loper—mandolin, tenor banjo, & percussion
Jamie Oshima—guitar, piano, & percussion

Sound provided by Eric Weest Johnson

Admission to the Community Dance is $2 for adults and $1 for children. Admission to the Contra Dance is $10 for adults, $8 for ages 13 to 20 and adult All-Comers, and $5 for children. Bring along a window fan and get $1 off. For more information: call 338-0979, or email us at belfastflyingshoes@gmail.comFind us on Facebook too!

Hosts Wanted

BFS friends, here’s a message from Julia Plumb:

Dancers! I have the fun of coordinating hospitality for the visiting bands and callers who perform at our evening contra dance. Do you live in or near Belfast (some bands are also traveling on to Montpelier, VT) and have space in your home to offer hospitality? We especially need hosts who can offer multiple beds, as many bands and callers are carpooling to the dance. Typically, hosts offer a late-night snack after the dance and breakfast and coffee/tea the next morning. Hosts are the recipients of our extreme gratitude and free admission to the evening’s community & contra dances. Contact me (Julia Plumb juliaplumb@yahoo.com) if you would like to be on the hosting list.

Star Turn: Polaris Rises Over the Belfast Flying Shoes Contra Dance Friday, August 4, 2017, with Caller Steve Zakon-Anderson

Join us for contra dancing at American Legion Post #43, 143 Church Street in Belfast! The evening begins at 6:30 pm with a Community Dance called by Chrissy Fowler and with music by the All-Comers Band. All musicians are welcome to sit in. Fun and simple dances will be taught, giving beginners the opportunity to learn new skills and offering experienced dancers a chance to brush up on their steps. The Contra Dance begins at 8:00 pm.

Steve Zakon-Anderson

This month’s caller is Steve Zakon-Anderson. A skilled and seasoned caller, Steve is organizer of the monthly Peterborough, N.H., dance, as well as the special annual dances in Peterborough: the Fall Ball, Snow Ball, and Play Ball. Sharing the Flying Shoes stage with Steve will be …

Polaris

Polaris

A quartet of talented young musicians raised in the rich traditional music scene of Vermont and Western Massachusetts who founded their band in 2015, Polaris has already wowed dancers in such respected venues as the Guiding Star Grange in Greenfield, Mass., and the Concord Scout House in Concord, Mass. We can’t wait to hear their exuberant, twin-fiddle sound fill the Legion Post hall!

​Marta Bartholomew—fiddle
Rose Jackson—fiddle
Sam Zakon-Anderson—piano
Jesse Ball—accordion, guitar, hammer dulcimer, and foot percussion

Sound by Glen Loper

Admission to the Community Dance is $2 for adults and $1 for children. Admission to the Contra Dance is $10 for adults, $8 for ages 13 to 20 and adult All-Comers, and $5 for children. Bring along a window fan and get $1 off. For more information: call 338-0979, or email us at belfastflyingshoes@gmail.com. Find us on Facebook too!

Dave Langford, Glen Loper, and Bethany Waickman to Play Belfast Flying Shoes Contra Dance: Friday, July 7, 2017, with Caller Chrissy Fowler

Join us for contra dancing at American Legion Post #43, 143 Church Street in Belfast! The evening begins at 6:30 pm with a Community Dance called by Chrissy Fowler and with music by the All-Comers Band. All musicians are welcome to sit in. Fun and simple dances will be taught, giving beginners the opportunity to learn new skills and offering experienced dancers a chance to brush up on their steps. The Contra Dance begins at 8:00 pm.

Chrissy Fowler

This month’s caller is Belfast’s own Chrissy Fowler. A founder and leading light of the Belfast Flying Shoes dance series, Chrissy spreads the joy of contra dancing also at schools, community gatherings, and private events. With wit and good cheer, Chrissy keeps things spicy enough for veteran dancers while making novices feel equally welcome. Sharing the Flying Shoes stage with Chrissy will be …

Bethany Waickman, Glen Loper, and Dave Langford

Dave Langford, Glen Loper & Bethany Waickman

Returning to Belfast after a sublime Flying Shoes performance last year is a trio of three perennial dance-circuit favorites. Fiddler extraordinaire, guitarist, and teacher Dave Langford is best known as a member of the Latter Day Lizards. Mandolinist and tenor banjo player Glen Loper picks also with Frigate, Steampacket, Riptide, among other bands. Bethany Waickman is the rhythm section of the dance trio Anadama, but her clean, driving DADGAD guitar has also backed such luminaries as fiddlers Lissa Schneckenburger and Rodney Miller and accordionist Jeremiah McLane.

Dave Langford—fiddle
Glen Loper—mandolin, tenor banjo, stomping
Bethany Waickman—guitar

Sound by Eric Weest Johnson

Admission to the Community Dance is $2 for adults and $1 for children. Admission to the Contra Dance is $10 for adults, $8 for ages 13 to 20 and adult All-Comers, and $5 for children. Bring along a window fan and get $1 off. For more information: call 338-0979, or email us at belfastflyingshoes@gmail.com. Find us on Facebook too!

Birdie March – All-Comers Band tune for July 7

In June, we danced a new composition at the BFS Community Dance: Coyote Prowl, a community contra created by the Coyote deme at Northwood Natural Learning’s Village Day program. Coyote Prowl premiered at the closing circle at Northwood, where we danced it to The Birdie March, a new tune by Ali Palm. We’ll dance Coyote Prowl to The Birdie March at the July 7 BFS Community Dance.

Here’s an mp3 of the tune. The A1 and A2 differ slightly, and the B1 and B2 have substantial differences. It’s in G, with possible chords as follows:

A1: G-/G-/D-/D-/
A2: G-/G-/D-/G-/
B1: G-/G-/Em-/Em-/
B2: G-/G-/Em-/Amaj-/

Double chocolate for those ACB musicians who correctly identify at least three of the birds whose calls inspired the tune… and triple chocolate if you explain the variation at the end of B2!

Gems from a Gathering of Midcoast Maine’s Musical Tribes

On May 23, BFS co-sponsored the Maine premiere of “Welcome Here Again”, a documentary about the seminal contra dance band, the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra. (See earlier post.) Before the screening, Ned Lightner of Insight Productions recorded an inspiring jam/chat session with 20+ trad musicians of diverse musical backgrounds.

In Ned’s video, the musicians shared thoughts about playing traditional music in social settings. As one viewer noted, “Each of the speakers was eloquent, in many different ways, and I heard gem after gem.”

The chat was partly inspired by a keynote that Laura Risk gave at an educators’ conference. In it, she referred to Thomas Turino’s Music as Social Life: The Politics of Participation, a book that “explores why it is that music and dance are so often at the center of our most profound personal and social experiences.”

It’s worth mentioning that the musicians who gathered on 5/23 play with a rich variety of inclusive groups: Belfast Flying Shoes All-Comers Band, Belfast Bay Fiddlers (BBF), Kitchen Junketers, Maine Fiddle Camp, Quebecois jam, ukelele jam, Irish session, and more! And nearly all have played for dances, including with the BFS All-Comers, BBF, Old Grey Goose, Maine Country Dance Orchestra, Oakum Bay String Band, Montville Project, Gawler Family, Newell Family, Velocipede, Roaring Jelly, and of course, the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra. Most importantly–and without exception–they play music as part of their social life.

Many thanks to the folks who came as audience members, to the Colonial Theatre owners Mike Hurley and Therese Bagnardi for making their Dreamland space available, to Jacqueline Laufman and filmmaker John Gfroerer for trekking up from NH, to Ned Lightner for thinking up the event, and immeasurable gratitude to all of the musicians who jammed, chatted, and introduced themselves on film for posterity. We’re thrilled to have helped make it happen.

Welcome Here Again! A Gathering of Trad Music Communities in Midcoast Maine

Welcome Here Again

Belfast Flying Shoes is thrilled to join Insight Video Productions and the Colonial Theatre in sponsoring a celebration of participatory music-making. Come one, come all, with instruments in hand!

Tuesday May 23 at 7pm
Colonial Theatre, Belfast

Come Early for the Open Jam Session, playing a variety of fiddle tunes in the traditional vein. Enjoy Conversation about playing trad music in social settings.

See the Maine premiere of the documentary film: Welcome Here Again: A Recording Session with the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra (click for trailer).

Meet the Documentary’s Creators, John Gfroerer of Concord, NH and videographer Ned Lightner of Belfast.

Suggested donation: $3 to $30 (Proceeds after expenses will support the outreach work of Belfast Flying Shoes.)
More about the 5/23 event, click here.

Cool Breeze: Nor’easter returns to the Belfast Flying Shoes Contra Dance

Join us Friday, June 2, for contra dancing at American Legion Post #43, 143 Church Street in Belfast. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with a Community Dance called by Chrissy Fowler and with music by the All-Comers Band. All musicians are welcome to sit in. Fun and simple dances will be taught, giving beginners the opportunity to learn new skills and offering experienced dancers a chance to brush up on their steps. The Contra Dance begins at 8:00 p.m.

Bob Isaacs

Calling for this month’s dance will be Bob Isaacs of New Jersey. A caller since 1999 at dances, weekends, and camps across the country, Bob is known for a clear, enthusiastic teaching style that works for dancers of all levels. He is also a talented and prolific choreographer, whose contras and squares are both inventive and true to their traditional roots. This will be Bob’s first time calling for a Flying Shoes dance, and we’re thrilled to welcome him. Returning to the Flying Shoes stage with Bob will be:

Nor’easter

The popular Boston-based trio Nor’easter joins the talents of fiddler Cedar Stanistreet, mandolinist and guitarist Max Newman, and pianist and accordionist Julie Vallimont. Thoroughly steeped in New England music, the three share musical interests that range from classical and jazz to rock and techno. Their light, subtle, energetic sound has made them a favorite at dances across the country.

Cedar Stanistreet—fiddle
Max Newman—mandolin & guitar
Julie Vallimont—piano & accordion

Sound provided by Eric Weest Johnson

Nor’easter

All-Comers Tune for May

The Belfast Flying Shoes All-Comers Band is an inspiring and exciting phenomenon—what’s not to love?!? Just to add to all that delight on first Fridays, your community dance caller (Chrissy Fowler) and All-Comers Band leaders (The Gawler Family) have decided to occasionally feature a “Tune of the Month.”

Presenting, on May 5, 2017… The Black Joke!

Molly Gawler will help lead a review of the tune just before the dance. For all you ear-learners, it’s a wonderfully repetitive jig. Note-readers can check out the pdf of the dots & lines. And everyone, we hope you’ll join the dancers in a rousing chorus: “Hey, Ho, Diddley-Dum!”

Download The Black Joke (PDF)