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Everything posted by Animaterra

  1. This topic may have been discussed before but I couldn't find it, so here goes! Last night my daughter and I watched a video of Twelfth Night (with Helen Bonham Carter as Olivia and Ben Kingsley as Feste). Throughout the movie, a concertina showed up from time to time, first on board the ship, "played" by one of the twins, then on land, "played" by Feste. The soundtrack also had lots of concertina. The concertina looked to my inexperienced eyes like a Lachenal (English). Before we get all huffy about the existence of concertinas in Shakespeare's day, this production was set in what looked like Edwardian times. So concertinas were around. I won't go into how obvious it was that none of the actors knew what to do with a concertina. But it was lovely to see and hear! Are there other movies that feature or at least briefly show concertinas?
  2. I wanted to read the poll results, so I clicked to view the results ("null vote") before voting. Now it won't let me vote at all= it says I've already voted! I'm in about twice a day. Allison
  3. Oh, Ken, that was YOU! I saw you walk in and back out again, thought you looked familiar (I saw you only briefly at NEFFA). I'm sorry I didn't stick around- I've been a wee bit under the weather and hopped back home after the session. So you heard me loud and clear, eh? I know there was a thread discussion not long ago about this, but I've searched back several months and couldn't find it. I could always hear the Marcus fine, but can barely hear the Jeffries. I'm glad it can be heard (I think- most of the time). And I wish you'd come up and said Hi, although I didn't make it easy for you, scarpering out as fast as I did after the session. I hope you enjoyed the dance! Come on back some time! I hope it was a compliment that you thought we were the dance band- or did you wonder why we played so slowly? We have one or two tunes that are almost up to tempo, but for the most part we just slog along...
  4. Helen, the best exercise I know of is this: place hands on either side of concertina. Lift, play a tune. Repeat as often as possible! I played it at the local slow jam session for the first time last evening. It has such a sweet tone- and was harder to hear above all the fiddles! But I've read the threads on that topic, so I won't belabor the point. Byron felt he'd worked hard to "earn" this instrument. I know I "deserve" it as his partner, but I have a long way to go to earn it as a musician!
  5. Lisa, my team, too! I do know of a New England team that shall remain nameless that did greet the rising sun one summer solstice in similar kit- only it's a men's team (no, not local to me). I regret that I wasn't there to witness it. And I agree that Mr. Moon's box didn't impress me, either.
  6. Yes, of course I remember you, Robin! Hi, back! And yes, it does seem to be "time with Byron"; this instrument meant so much to him. It represented the journey he had been on and the place of peace, happiness, and music he had come to. However great the loss for me, he died a happy man. And now I have this beautiful gift. I need to get the straps adjusted as they're too loose, but I still can't keep my hands off it. I've been through every tune I know several times over. It's heavier than the Marcus- I'm going to have to get in shape before morris practice begins in September!
  7. Some of you know that I came to the concertina through my beloved fiance Byron Smith, who died last October. It's been a dark, hard year, but playing the concertina has been a light in the darkness. Last week I received wonderful news that came to fruition today- I've inherited his Jeffries anglo (C/G, 38 keys). It has been a bittersweet day of playing Byron's favorite tunes and hearing my fingers make the sounds I'd only heard from him. I've never owned such a lovely thing before in my life.
  8. Lovely, Wendy! I love sunflowers. Nelson is a full week to 10 days behind the lower elevations of our region, so it will be some time before the sunflowers bloom here- for about 2 days, then it will be autumn!
  9. This reminds me of a bumpersticker I saw that said something like, "My wife said she'd leave me if I didn't give up fishing. Sometimes I really miss her." Seriously, though, I wonder if her lack of tolerance for the concertina might not be a physiological thing? I teach music to elementary school children. Sometimes I'll play a recording, or bring in a musician to demonstrate an instrument, and there are children who will cover their ears and bend over double in physical pain. Over the years I've discovered that there are children with a special auditory sensitivity to certain ranges, frequencies and pitches. There are a few things I can advise them to do in the short term, like chew gum (really! like when driving in the mountains or sitting in an airplane at liftoff- it eases the pressure) or yawn. Some of the kids develop a tolerance over the years (I get them from age 5 to 11). Some just do not. Would your wife consider earplugs, the kind that filter sound, rather than block it? If her problem is physiological, it might help, especially if she's willing to be supportive but has come to you with the hard truth because she just can't bear it any more. All of the other above suggestions are excellent. I wish you well- I can imagine the bind you're in and I hope you can work some kind of compromise with your wife!
  10. That's lovely, Alan. Much nicer than the red Samsonite case I got at a yard sale for my Lachenal!
  11. Sounds like fun! I may go to the Portsmouth shanty session, in which case I'll see a lot of you squeezers there. Allison
  12. Anyone going to Old Songs in Altamont, NY? It's the highlight of my year. Among other points of interest to free-reeders, John Williams will be there, as will John Roberts, Tony Barrand, and Louis Killen. Great singing, good folks all around.
  13. Unfortunately, John only confirmed what Doug had already suggested. Bellows leak like crazy, and several buttons don't want to move. It's a bottom-of-the-line Lach and not worth my investment. Someone else with knowledge and tools could probably make it playable! Thanks for the offer of your Wheatstone, Jay- you'll be hearing from me!
  14. Well, last night John Roberts and Tony Barrand graced the town of Nelson with a wonderful concert of song, stories, and their usual brand of humor. I brought my Lachenel for John to peek at, as he had graciously expressed an interest in seeing it the last time I had seen him. The verdict- it's shot. I had suspected as much, but not being a very good player of English I didn't know if it was the bellows, buttons, etc, or just me being bad at the instrument. So I'll join the gang to get together and play, but it'll be with my Anglo, not the English. And don't be surprised if a Lachenel "fixer-upper" shows up on Ebay sometime soon! (Maybe I'll get enough for a down-payment on an English Stagi, at least!)
  15. Hey, y'all, I'm just over the border in NH- count me in! Whaddya say? My summer vacation is coming up soon (I'm an elementary music teacher) and I could use a creative focus. Like Ken, I'm a beginner on the EC but this would be a good motivator. Inquiring minds want to know!
  16. Washington Folk Festival Schedule So many countries represented- what a richness! Sure wish I could be there- it sounds great! But my morris team has our final tour that weekend, and I'll be schlepping teenagers around, etc. etc. Oh! And John Roberts and Tony Barrand will be performing in my little town Sat. night, so I guess I'll be just fine even if not at the festival!
  17. Dank u wel, Henk! This may be just what I've been looking for!
  18. Good descriptions, all. Alan, what you describe appears to be a right-hand (or left-hand) star. Contra dancing, like much "folk music", has those who adhere to the old ways of doing things (here in New Hampshire, Dudley Laufman is a classic example- I learned from him!) and those who want to move and evolve with the times. I love both ways, and I'm thrilled to see so many young folks at the dances these days. I live in Nelson, where we claim to have the longest-continuing contra dance in the country, going over 200 years and stronger than ever. We tend to be rather more traditional here. Over the hills to the south, in Greenfield, MA, there's a weekly dance that's much more "groovy"- which is also lots of fun! Alan, what are the links you've been visiting?
  19. Congratulations! I can't tell if you're closer to me or not; I tend to take 63 from Northampton as it's quicker to Amherst than I-91 and prettier, too. But I'm sure it will be a vast improvement over the tiny space you've had. When you're in - LET'S PAR-TAY!
  20. I'm with Jim. Not only is singing the only real safe way to perform, it gives me joy and a surge of adrenalin to sing in front of people. Playing an instrument, my fingers shake, my heart races, my palms sweat- I hope to overcome this with the concertina, but it's only been 5 months so ! don't know! Edited to correct my spelling!
  21. HOORAY!! Blessings on mom and babe and all. Keep playing music for the little sprout- as I'm sure you know. I played the "Pachelbel Canon in D" incessantly when I was pregnant with my firstborn, now 18 (ok, I was young and foolish). I played it occasionally when he was a baby, then got sick of the piece and stopped. When he was 2 1/2 it turned up on the local classical music station (WGBH Boston, at the time). Dylan looked up, said, "Oh! it's my tune!" and went contendedly back to playing whatever he was up to. I haven't tried it in years. He's graduating from hs next month- I'll have to spring it on him at the graduation party!
  22. Go Agnes!! Concertina and Shakespeare- two of my favorites. What a wonderful combination- and what a cool, creative kid Agnes appears to be. Thanks for sharing the photos, Jim!
  23. I recently took a friend's Mayfair to the Button Box and was told that with a complete overhaul it might sell for around $600. It was an interesting little box, with Bakelite ends, and a sweet tone when it didn't wheeze pathetically!
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