All Comers Band

We’re resuming All Comers Band programming on First Fridays!

See calendar for details.

ACB Tunes of the Month for “Two by Two: Couple Dances for Flying Shoes” on Friday May 6:

  • Waltz – Margaret’s (by Pat Shuldham Shaw) ~ In Matthieson’s The Waltz Book, check out the video from Aly Bain.
  • Waltz – Amelia (by Bob McQuillen) ~ In Matthieson’s The Waltz Book, check out the video from NEFFA 2011, with Bob McQuillen on piano and playfulness.
  • Foxtrot – Sentimental Journey (by Les Brown, Ben Homer & Bud Green) ~ Check out the video and sheet music arrangements (for many instruments) on the Maine Fiddle Camp website.
  • Schottische – Silly Goose Schottische (by Larry Unger) ~ Sheet music here, check out the video of this hilarious tune (and let us know what key the geese are honking in!)
  • Schottische – Schottische fran Idre ~ Sheet music here or in Barnes’ A Little Couple-Dancemusik, check out the second tune in this video from a Midsommar gathering in Stockholm, Maine.
  • Polka – Sean Ryan’s (aka John Ryan’s) ~ Sheet music here, check out this video from March 2020.
  • Other – The Gay Gordons – Sheet music here, and in Barnes’ A Little Couple-Dancemusik, check out this video from a contra dance in Nelson NH in 1986, or the first tune in this amusing video by a ceili band at a wedding.

Other tunes will be chosen at the dance. Come early to warm up! Check out Larry’s video playlists for Further Adventures and the Combined Tunebook! Bring along your Larry Unger tune books,  Barnes’ A Little Couple-Dancemusik, Matthieson’s Waltz Books, and any other resources you need. (FYI, the ACB treat box returns this month!)

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In 2020, we assembled a virtual All Comers Band!

The v-ACB video premiered at our 15th birthday party on December 4, 2020!  (more info…) It celebrates the phenomenon that is the All Comers Band.  Imagine a first Friday community dance with 20-40 musicians–of all ages, skill levels, and instruments–playing their hearts out. We never know who will show up to play, and with that spontaneity the ACB is always a diverse and joyful group. We hope the v-ACB captures that essence!

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The All Comers Band (ACB) is a merry assemblage of musicians who play for the Belfast Flying Shoes (BFS) 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!! The ACB is a great way to hone your skills playing for dancing. Since ear-playing is emphasized, written music is not provided. (Some players do bring sheet music and others peer over their shoulders!) Come any time after 6 pm to tune, warm up, and go over some of tunes.

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

The ACB is joyfully led by Julia Plumb. Tunes are chosen on the spot based on the needs of the dance from a common Northeast contra repertoire, especially the classic Maine dance tunes. If you don’t know one of the tunes, we encourage you to try to pick up whatever notes you can on the fly. Our goal is to play great music at dance speed–and have FUN!

We often highlight a tune or a set of the month, which is posted on our BFS blog & our Facebook page and is sent directly to our email list.

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Frequent Flyers:

Italicized dates bring you to a “Set of the Month” blog post.

Reel Sets:
Shove that Pig’s Foot/Nail that Catfish to the Tree
The Girl I Left Behind Me/Kitchen Girl
Over the Waterfall/Kitchen Girl
Angeline the Baker/Old Joe Clark
Seneca Square Dance/Liza Jane
Seneca Square Dance/Sandy Boys
Spootiskerry/Gaspé Reel (Oct 2018)
Old French/Lamplighter’s Hornpipe ( Jan 2019)
Liberty/The Joys of Quebec (Feb 2019)
Maple Sugar/Galope des montagnards laurentiens (March 2019)
Cotillion de la patte du mouton/Repertoire Gérard Lajoie (April 2019)
Sam and Elzie/Step Along Johnny (June 2019)
Reel de Montreal/Dancing Bear
Spotted Pony/Flop Eared Mule
Redwing in C for singing square (July 2019)
Old French/Reel Saint Antoine (Sept 2019)
Spotted Pony/Shady Grove (Nov 2019)
Galopede (Dec 2019)

Other Reels: Julianne Johnson, Pays de Haut, La Bastringue, Golden Slippers

Jig Sets:
Off She Goes/Steamboat Quickstep
The Old Favorite/Le Tourment (Nov 2018)
Out on the Ocean/The Lilting Banshee (Dec 2018)

Other Jigs: Cock of the North, Fair Jenny’s, Hundred Pipers, La Maison de Glace

McQuillen’s Squeezebox/Mistwold (May 2019)
March of St. Timothy/Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine (Oct 2019)
Snowy Breasted Pearl/Meeting of the Waters (Feb 2020)

Other Marches: Coleman’s, St. Timothy, Jamie Allen

Polkas: Mairi’s Wedding, John/Sean Ryan, Peg O’Brien, Road to Boston

Waltzes: Ash Grove, Sheebeg Sheemore, Far Away, Amelia, Haapavesi, Southwind, Tombigbee (Aug 2019)

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
  • Irish Session – Thursdays 6:30-9 pm at Darby’s in Belfast
  • Old Time Session – Second Mondays circa 6 pm at the Apprenticeshop in Rockland
  • 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: