Join G.A.L.A. as they launch their winter Contra Dance series next weekend with The Fiddling Thomsons & Friends at the Ossipee Town Hall, Saturday January 28th. This will be the first in a series of dances that G.A.L.A. will host at the Ossipee Town Hall on the fourth Saturday of every month from January through April. If you have ever been to a contra dance than you already know what wholesome fun is to be had. If you have yet to experience traditional New England dance you are in for a treat. All levels of experience are welcome.
The first dance of the winter series will feature The Fiddling Thomsons & Friends. The band is led by Ryan and Brennish Thomson, a father and son duo who have played dances, taught workshops and competed in fiddle competitions throughout the region. In 2010 when Brennish was only thirteen they won the Twin Fiddle award at Lowell National Historical Park, in Lowell, Massachussetts. Although they will be playing the traditional dance music for New England Contras from the pages of Scots, Irish and French Canadian repertoires this Saturday night, their range of musical styles is broad; playing tunes from Eastern Europe, Tex/Mex, Blues, Cajun and Bluegrass traditions. On their latest album “Music for Both Hands”, Brennish even infuses some beat-box vocals into “Nonesuch”, a dance tune from England dating back to the 1600’s.
Ryan Thomson, also known as Captain Fiddle from his radio days on NH public Radio, has long been respected as a musician and researcher of American fiddle music. After decades of involvement with the contra dance scene in the region, Ryan still marvels at its resilience and the wide appeal it carries beyond its home in the northeast. On a recent trip to England he encountered New England contra dance gatherings, and on another occasion met a woman who calls dances in Hong Kong.
Rounding out the The Thomsons band will be Paul Mangion on percussion and banjo, Byron Ricker calling, and some likely but as yet unnamed guest musicians.
For those in the area who would like to participate in this New Hampshire pastime or just listen to the music of The Fiddling Thomsons, the Ossipee Town Hall is located at 55 Main Street in Center Ossipee, 03814. The dance will run from 7-10pm. Ticket prices are $7 adults, $5 students, and $3 for youth 14yrs and under. Refreshments and snacks will also be available for purchase with revenues going toward G.A.L.A.’s nonprofit programming.
Would you like to be more involved? Volunteers will be needed to help contact bands, recruit sponsors, setup and cleanup during each dance, and promote the dances by posting flyers. If you are interested in volunteering, or would like to learn more about the contra dance series, please contact Carol by calling 603-520-8060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.