Scandi Shoes + Flying on the Bridge

Looking forward and reflecting back, shoes are really flying in August!

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Scandinavian Dance Party Ahead = Finnish supergroup, Frigg

  • Saturday, Aug 13
  • 7:00 pm ~ Workshop on easy Scandi dancing with Andrea Larson of Virginia, accompanied by a local spelmanslag led by Bennett Konesni
  • Frigg plays for the Scandi dance party after the workshop! Open dancing any way that your shoes want to fly (whether you do a slangpolska, schottische or hambo,  or you wiggle your toes, cavort, tap or sway!)
  • $5 – 20 sliding scale suggested donation, to help BFS and Summer Nights cover costs.
  • Belfast Boathouse, inside, with a smooth dance floor & the big doors wide open
  • Jointly presented by Flying Shoes & Belfast Summer Nights, with support from Viking Lumber and Worth Real Estate
  • + Local Hero! Belfast’s own Noah Fishman is joining the Frigg tour as a sub for one of their regular members. We’re thrilled that Noah will be with Frigg to kick off the tour in our dear hometown!
  • 5:30 pm ~ Come early for Frigg’s concert at Steamboat Landing, presented by Bagaduce Music. The BFS/Summer Nights program follows the concert ~ first, the workshop by Andrea & our local spelmanslag; then Frigg plays for the Scandi Dance Party.)
“Nordgrass” supergroup, Frigg on Belfast Waterfront – Saturday, Aug 13 – 5:30 Concert presented by Bagaduce Music; 7:00 workshop & scandi dance party presented by Summer Nights & Flying Shoes

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First Friday Recap = Euphoria on the Footbridge

Wow, another amazing 1st Fri! The weather cooperated, with breezes off the water and clouds that held their rain. Everyone was beaming, including the bemused pedestrians who wove their way through the joyful chaos.

Gratitude goes to Julia & Benjamin and the 23 talented musicians who joined them, scores of happy dancers and listeners (over 100 at the peak!), generous contributors to the admission can, the City of Belfast, Belfast Parks & Recreation, our First Friday Sponsors, and the folks fishing for stripers who kindly moved their poles and gear so we could set up.

Extra-special thanks to the volunteers who helped out before, during, and after the dance ~ All 23 of the ACB musicians, Christina B, Steve C, Joanne M, Lauren McP, Tara A, Ruby A, Alex C, Kate D, Gary B, Casey, and others who lent a hand on the fly! 

Enjoy these photos + the first verse of the newly-composed lyrics from a BFS dancer/musician.

(to be sung to the tune, Sentimental Journey, the foxtrot played by the ACB on 8/5)

Tonight’s the night, at last we dance a contra.
Gonna set our hearts at ease.
Like a child in wild anticipation,
We’ll renew old memories.

All Comers Band warming up

 

Julia McDonald-Plumb & Benjamin Foss leading the musicians
Long lines, forward & back
Dancing early on
Two contra sets, east and west
Shoes were still flying at sunset
What if someone wrote a tune called “Bonaparte Crossing the Passagassawakeag” as a change tune for “Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine”?

Photos of Belfast’s Shoes Flying Again!

We’ve sure had a lot of sunshine in Belfast … there’s so much to celebrate. Here are a few rays to share — with lots of photos!

This Week’s BFS Radio Hour Features T-Acadie!

Tune in this week for our second “live” show on the Flying Shoes Radio Hour. Pam Weeks, Bill Olson & Jim Joseph of T-Acadie offered up a bunch of tunes, songs, and stories in the WBFY Belfast Community Radio studio. (Chrissy Fowler hosted, and Vic Tredwell was our engineer.) Catch the good times on 100.9 FM WBFY-Belfast Community Radio at 6:00 pm on Fri. July 8, 1:00 pm on Wed. July 13, or streaming on demand all week!)

Bill Olson, Pam Weeks, and Jim Joseph getting ready to play a tune at WBFY during our in-studio recording session.

BFS Shoes Are Flying Again at First Friday Dances!

Wow, after 2 years and 4 months, we’re back to do-si-dos and stars and allemandes on first Fridays! July 1 was a perfect evening for our inaugural dance at Steamboat Landing. A band of 20+ All Comers joined T-Acadie in an overflowing gazebo, scores of dancers of all ages frolicked on the grass right up until dusk, and scattered groups of onlookers on lawn chairs watched cheerfully. As one person exulted via email afterward, “Hurrayyyyy!!!!”

Huge gratitude to everyone who came out to play, dance, and watch — especially folks who contributed to BFS for admission. Special thanks to Neil C, Nick S, Kay Z, Christina B, Liza O, Gary B, and others for helping out with setup, cleanup, and other essential tasks!  Additional thanks to Belfast Parks & Recreation Department and our amazing First Friday SponsorsColburn Shoe Store ~ The Green Store ~ First National Bank ~ First National Wealth Management ~ TFPE Civil Engineering ~ Coyote Moon.

Join us for the next First Friday Dance on August 5 on the Armistice Footbridge. All Comers warmup with Julia Plumb at 5:30, dancing 6-8pm. Details on our calendar.

All Comers Band and T-Acadie rehearsing in the gazebo
Circling left for La Bastringue
All Comers in good form
Looking upriver at the dancers and sky
All Comers Band and boats in the bay
Learning the schottische
Promenading in the walkthrough
Dancing in the park
Dancing under pink clouds
Joining hands in long lines

 

King of Ragtime: The Story of Scott Joplin

Mark your calendar and get your advance tickets for King of Ragtime: The Story of Scott Joplin — a multimedia extravaganza celebrating Scott Joplin, ragtime music, art, picture book illustration, and community connections – at the Colonial Theater on Sunday, June 5, at 3:00 pm. (Some fun details on our Facebook page!)

Local author, illustrator, and self-described “rusty piano player”, Stephen Costanza will share themes from his recent book, King of Ragtime: The Story of Scott Joplin. He will be joined on stage by Rita Brown on flute; Maria Keeler on violin; Edith Gawler on vocals, fiddle and calabash banjo; and Zeb Campbell on vocals, guitar and banjo. Pianist Alden Mills will play popular hits from the 1890s to the 1920s before the show, so arrive early!

In Dreamland at the Colonial Theater, 163 High St. $5 kids, $15 adults. Advance ticket sales at https://tinyurl.com/KingOfRagtime or available at the door. (Doors open at 2:30 pm.)

Masks are heartily requested, in accordance with the BFS public health policy, here.

What will the show be like?

This family-friendly show features live music, projections of art, animations, archival footage, some historical context, and a window into Steve Costanza’s process of writing and illustrating a book about a composer as amazing as Scott Joplin.

What’s Ragtime?

Here’s Steve at the tech run, explaining some features of ragtime music. Come to the show to hear more!

What’s the book like?

Published in 2021 by Atheneum, Costanza’s book has garnered accolades from critics and won the 2022 Golden Kite Award for Picture Book illustration from SCBWI . Described as “pitch-perfect” by Publishers Weekly and “a biography as bouncy and colorful as ragtime itself” by Kirkus, the “melodic, flowing text goes beyond Joplin’s personal details to paint a picture of what life looked like for African Americans during the Jim Crow era,” according to Booklist.  Left Bank Books will host a book signing in the lower lobby after the show, so you can get your own copy on June 5!

Here’s a video trailer of the book:

Who made this program possible?

BFS co-founder Annadeene Fowler and BFS director Chrissy Fowler collaborated with Steve Costanza to plan this event, and BFS is grateful for support and funding from the Belfast Free Library, The Colonial Theater, Left Bank Books, First National Bank & First National Wealth Management, No Axe to Grind, and BFS supporters.

Celtic Music at Mermaid Plaza 5/19

Belfast Flying Shoes and the Makers Guild of Maine present an evening of Celtic music featuring Seán Heely & Beth Patterson, with special guest Owen Kennedy, at Mermaid Plaza, One East Main St (Rte1/Rte3) in Searsport on Thursday, May 19. A 6:30 pm workshop for musicians kicks off the event, followed by a 7:45 pm concert. Sliding scale admission for the workshop is $5-20 sliding scale, and the concert admission is $10-25 sliding scale.

The trio’s high-energy repertoire focuses on Scottish and Irish tunes and songs. Seán Heely is a young champion fiddler from the Washington DC area, but he’s known locally for his teaching chops, such as his past work with the Acadia Trad Festival and his online lessons. In fact, Seán is one of Owen’s mentors, and the two award-winning musicians have shared the stage before, including in October 2021 when they played for a large and enthusiastic audience at an outdoor concert in Searsport. On May 19, Seán and Owen will be joined by the bouzouki-playing Louisiana native, Beth Patterson, who has been described as “a cross between a cobra and a puppy”.

This concert at Mermaid Plaza will be a great way to emerge from a long winter and cold spring! Get ready to tap your toes and let your shoes and fiddle bows fly to the exciting rhythms of this powerful music.

Read more about the performers in their bios, below:

Champion fiddler and singer Seán Heely is one of the most creatively versatile and captivating young artists of his generation. He is a U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, an award-winning Irish fiddler, and a singer in the folk and Gaelic traditions of Scotland/Ireland. He holds a degree from the University of South Carolina in Classical Violin Performance and was a 2019 Artist-in-Residence at Strathmore Music Center in Maryland. An in-demand educator, he is on the adjunct faculty at American University and has been on the faculty of several music camps all around the U.S. Seán has performed with music icons such as Liz Carroll and Bonnie Rideout and continues to share his rich Celtic heritage with audiences around the globe. His debut solo album “Edge of the Bow” and duo record “Home Port” with Colin McGlynn as the Glencoe Lads have received critical acclaim.

Louisiana native Beth Patterson has played bouzouki (an Irish adaptation of a traditional Greek instrument professionally for thirty years. She has been featured in various lineups, ranging from traditional Celtic to myriad genres that typically don’t include the bouzouki, such as Cajun, blues, and metal. She began touring as a founding member of The Poor Clares before setting out on a solo career as a singer-songwriter. Beth studied traditional music and ethnomusicology with Micheál Ó Súilleabháin and Mel Mercier at University College Cork, Ireland, and hold a Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy from Loyola University, New Orleans. She has performed in twenty countries and appeared on over two hundred recordings, including eight solo albums of her own. Seán and Beth met during one of her gigs in Norfolk, VA in 2020 and since then they have been creating new music together as well as breathing new life into their vast Celtic music repertoire.

Owen Kennedy is a teen-aged fiddler from Maine whose love of traditional music and enthusiasm for performing has captivated audiences from San Diego to the Shetland Islands and all over New England. He enjoys tunes from traditions beyond Maine, especially Scotland & Shetland, Cape Breton, Quebec & the Maritimes, and appreciates the challenge of playing true to the authentic style of a place and culture. Owen recorded his debut album Oh When: Now with Owen Marshall in February 2022. People have been asking for a while: “Owen, oh when will you have a cd we can buy?” Owen will soon be able to answer that question at upcoming performances! As an emerging musician rooted in the Maine Maritime music tradition and exploring the music of Scotland, the album includes the tunes he’s loved for years, as well as newer favorites from Shetland and Scotland. Owen made the best of the Covid challenges with various video projects including the ongoing 50 Fiddlers from 50 States Project and sharing music online.

Dancing 2 by 2 ~ Couple Dances for Flying Shoes

Dancing two by two in the streets of Belfast! (from the BFS archives)

Two by Two: Couple Dances for Flying Shoes

BELFAST – Belfast Flying Shoes presents an evening of couple dances by the All Comers Band, led by Larry Unger & Rebecca Weiss – waltz, polka, schottische, foxtrot and more — on Friday, May 6, at 6:30 pm at the Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast.

Dancers are encouraged to practice courtesy and cooperation, in accordance with the Flying Shoes public health policy , as they glide two by two across the wooden floor with each dance partner — whether a beau, friend, family member, or neighbor. We’ll offer fun tips on ways to meet everyone’s needs for safety and consent, and we’re thrilled to step carefully back into social dancing on First Fridays!

Musical guests Rebecca Weiss on fiddle and Larry Unger on guitar & banjo will lead the All Comers Band (all musicians, instruments, and skill levels welcome!) Musicians can find a partial tune list at belfastflyingshoes.org/all-comers-band/

Boston-based musician and tunesmith Larry Unger is a local favorite, known for his rock solid rhythm, a rich repertoire that includes his 5000 original  compositions, and his deep roots in traditional music.

Larry Unger on banjo at Renoir’s Boating Party

Part of a younger generation of exciting dance fiddlers, Rebecca Weiss hails from the Pioneer Valley in MA and grew up in greater Washington D.C., where a variety of tradition-bearers mentored her in the Appalachian, Irish, and contra dance music communities.

Rebecca Weiss on fiddle

Doors open at 6pm. The evening begins at 6:30 with a warm up session for the All Comers Band musicians, with open dancing from 7-9 pm.  Dance callers will offer mini-lessons on ways to enjoy the various types of dances, giving simple tips for satisfying and accessible dancing.

Sliding scale admission is $5 – $20 per person. The Troy Howard Middle School gymnasium is at 173 Lincolnville Ave (Rte 52) in Belfast. Doors open at 6:00, the All Comers Band warms up at 6:30, and the dancing starts at 7:00.  Masks required indoors. See BFS public health policy for more info.

Rays of Sunshine March 25

Since the vernal equinox this week, things are really brightening up in Belfast! Here are some rays of sunshine to look forward to…

March 27

The DownEast Country Dance Festival is hosting an online social for folks to connect and share stories. They’re also kicking off DEFFA’s new project related to our collective history of participatory dance and music in Maine. Register here.

Join Larry Unger on Friday April 1

April 1

We’re soooo excited to make some musical mischief with Larry Unger on April 1st at the Bazz! Details in the BFS calendar.

Saturday April 9 at the middle school

April 9

Longtime BFS folks might remember when BFS door prizes included tickets to A New Vaudeville Revue ~ Belfast’s own fun-filled, down-home music and comedy variety show. Well, they’re back! Sat. April 9, featuring contra dance musicians (Drivetrain), a BFS teaching artist (Mr. Ando), and plenty of humor, music, and even some ragtime! At THMS in Belfast. Complete details here.

Tri Town Music Program starting at Searsmont Town Library

April 25 – June 6

The Searsmont Town Library presents the Tri-Town Music Program for students in grades 2-5, starting April 25, with Jennifer Armstrong leading ukulele and Jeff Densmore leading percussion. BFS is a proud partner with the Library for this free program for residents of Belmont, Morrill & Searsmont. Contact the Library here.

Flashback to February:

We’ll close with a fond memory of the Fireside Chat at Waterfall Arts that featured BFS and Jennifer Armstrong (plus an amazing crepe paper “campfire”). Here’s their recap post, with a bit of audio, on the Waterfall Arts website.