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Northeast Squeeze-in Notes

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:D So here I am, finally catching up and all. Now I can post something about my weekend at the Northeast Squeeze-In! The drive back was a breeze, especially now that there was daylight (drove there in the dark). I did decide to go the 'country' way, routes 9, 143, and 8, etc., both ways. (So, I still have yet to drive on the Mass Pike.)


The workshops I took part in were the Concertina Band, our 'Dancing With Ma Baby' group, a group led by Ken Sweeney on Concertina Technique, the Playing By Ear shop that I kinda wandered into doing along with Dave Barnert, um...what else....oh, yeah, I sat around for some of the Quebecois workshop after that.


On Saturday night I caught some of the Pub Sing, but I sure wish I knew some of the songs....maybe next year. I didn't take part in the dance on Saturday, though the concert before it was sure fun.


The Concertina Band performed at the concert, and our group of Jay, Linda, Judy, Jim, Me, and....BRUCE, YOU LEFT US! WHY? (Okay, I know, you went home early, that's okay...) performed 'Side By Side' from the 'Dancing With My Baby' book. I found it all a bit rough to be on stage, but, whatever...got through it.


I had no plans of leading or co-leading any workshop, but, while looking over the Sunday workshop schedule with Dave Barnert, which had nothing (or not much) posted so far, I noticed someone's note requesting a shop on 'playing by ear.' So, I said, 'Hey, that'd be a good one.' So....anyway, Dave said he thought he'd like to try leading that, and though I would have been happy to just attend and not say much (since I still have quite a lot of room for improvement on my concertina), I did have a few maybe-helpful comments so, whatever....I agreed to do the workshop with Dave. I felt a bit overwhelmed at the last minute when I realized that, of course, since there wasn't another workshop going on at the time, there would be a large group there. Yikes! Anyway, there was some very interesting discussion (thanks, too, Animaterra!) and it was fun to hear others' views and comments.


What did I buy, there? I bought a cute little 18-button 'miniature' Stagi English concertina, to add to my collection of one Albion English Treble. I'm not sure why. I've gone over and over it in my head, and all I can come up with is that it was CUTE. I did look over the baritone ECs, but, though I thought I'd want one of those to sing with, now I'm not sure. I also enjoyed finally getting to hear the bass concertina....'Cool.'


Now I can be more ready for next year, now that I know more about what the NESI is like. I'm wondering if maybe, through this forum or somehow, we can compile a little list of some of the songs that would be sung together on Saturday night -- links to lyrics? Usually, a simple tune can be picked up easily at the time, but having no words for the song is another thing! I know a few songs that would be good but I have to find the words again...stuck them in a notebook somewhere (...not the one I left behind!).


Yeah, and I somehow left behind my huge notebook! I can't believe I did that. I was double-checking to be sure I had all my stuff and all that, but, somehow, my huge binder full of stuff got left. Fortunately, I'll be able to get it back soon, since it ended up at the Button Box (yay!!). So, a huge THANKS to Perry Werner for finding it for me and letting me know! Nothing in it is extremely crucial or irreplaceable, but, still...it takes some time to assemble those huge paper collections. (Not to mention, I'd written my notes about going IN-IN-OUT with the bellows, as per Ken, on one page!)


Okay, just one more thing....


I left before I could talk to Cheri Heppe (played English) again as I'd told her I would. So, if someone that reads this knows her and can give her my contact info, thanks. She'd mentioned liking my crocheted concertina-holder thing, and though I don't have any immediate plans to make more of them, I probably shall eventually do so. (I love to work on them...just can't do as much as I'd like to, due to the frequent dry skin problem on my fingers, etc..) If I make more of them, I'll post about them. Photo posted with this note is of my current concertina holder. (...may seem ridiculous, but, I find it convenient and helpful.)


Okay, nope, not gone yet...just one MORE thing...


To Alan Day: Yes, someone did record the concert. I know that the woman I roomed with did. Though, she may have missed a few parts of it, since her microphone batteries gave out (so I then gave her a battery from my camera). But, though she has my e-mail address, I never did get any contact info for from her, so....I guess she'll contact me if she feels like it, but, since I don't have her full name, even...I'm stuck. Hopefully, someone else has a nice recording, too!

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Hi Everyone,


Wendy, thanks for the writeup and also thanks for the pics!!! It was fun talking to you Friday night. Yeah, I did leave early on Saturday. I had to be home for an early day hiking with my son on Sunday, so I decided to drive home while it was still light out. I was sorry to miss the concert, but it worked out well to leave when I did. We also had a bit of a crisis at home during the week before the Squeeze-In, so I was somewhat anxious to get home. Next year I'll stay until Sunday.




I don't play anglo, but I did look at your concertinas and play around with them. I liked them very much. The little one is really cool. Thank you for sending them up.


A big thanks to the Button Box crew for all their work putting this together.


bruce boysen

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It was such a great weekend I'm just now getting caught up on things like concertina.net (and the New York Times). I have sent Wendy an e-mail address for Cheree H.


To me, the "find" of the weekend was Geoff Lakeman (of concertina.net), who came all the way across the big pond just for the event. He wowed everybody with his beautiful singing voice, accompanied by marvelous playing of his Crane duet. I thought it was a bit ironic that here was us Americans playing Irish tunes on English instruments and in comes Geoff putting us all to shame by singing American jazz songs from the 1930s.


Here's a picture I took of Geoff.


Edited to add: The thumbnail pic is stretched out laterally like a funhouse mirror. He's not that fat. Click it to see the proper proportions.


Edited by David Barnert
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And one of the more interesting instruments was David's guitar ... I think it was a guitar :blink: . I'd never seen anything quite like it. It came in about five pieces - I didn't know what he was putting together at first. Played very well, though.


Where did you get that?



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And one of the more interesting instruments was David's guitar ... I think it was a guitar :blink: .  I'd never seen anything quite like it.  It came in about five pieces - I didn't know what he was putting together at first. Played very well, though.


Where did you get that?



Right here. Mine's the classic maple. The price has gone up considerably since I bought it 3 years ago (was $600, now $825).


I love the thing.


Here's me and too many Morris Dancers approaching Falls Village, Connecticut.

(Edited to improve picture quality)


Edited by David Barnert
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Hi gang,

Yes, the Squeeze-in was great as usual!

Where's that picture I took of you concertina.net people? OK so you talked me into it--here I am, joining the group. (Hope I'm posting this right) :)

I recorded the first 80-minutes of the talent show/concert on mini-disc & hope to burn a CD of it when I get the time & can share it with others.

(So David is that the picture I took of you at Falls Village?)

I enjoyed meeting & playing tunes with all you concertina fanatics.


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It was such a great weekend I'm just now getting caught up on things like concertina.net (and the New York Times). I have sent Wendy an e-mail address for Cheree H.


To me, the "find" of the weekend was Geoff Lakeman ...etc.

Yes, thanks for the info. When I'm feeling better, I'll get busy with e-mail and stuff...have been sick and spent the day on the couch! (I'll get over it, I'm...sure...?)


Yes, I agree, it was really great to hear Geoff play and sing. I hope we'll hear more from him!


I enjoyed so many of the performers, some whose names I can't recall, but...if I get to hear them next year, I'll make an extra effort to get straight who's who. (I do recall the faces and the performances, though!)

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Hi folks:

Yes, Geoff's playing in addition to his kind words and great interest in the other attendees was absolutley gorgeous.

Makes me want to think about finding a Duet and doing what he does.

What a gorgeous voice and what wonderful playing and oh what a treat.

I hope he returns next year or at least issues some sort of recording (or does anyone know if he already has one?)

He's the image I had of what a concertina player does and also maybe even what one looks like.


Finally many thanks to Thie Button Box folks and all of you C.Netters for your advice, inspiration and most of all your friendship.

Can't wait until next year.




Perry Werner


PS: More thanks coming to come from here I'm sure!

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Hi gang,

Yes, the Squeeze-in was great as usual!


I enjoyed meeting & playing tunes with all you concertina fanatics.


Hi Britt! Did you sell your accordion? If I weren't broke I would have bought it. Never enough instruments, I say.


It was fun meeting Perry. He was a sax player in former times, from the same state as my sax-playing jazz teacher in LA, Gary Foster. But Perry, it turns out Gary went to Kans. State, not Wichita State. Sorry for the mixup. Could have fooled me, Gary even looks like you!


Hope to be there next year.

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Before the busy life I lead sucks all the glow out of the weekend I want a turn to ruminate on the memories of the weekend. Since this was my first time as a player, not a spouse, I spent much of the time feeling my way, getting my bearings.

I'm no way near ready to hold my own at the speed of most of the jams that were occurring all over. But every now and then I'd hear a tune and whip out my instrument and make a valient effort.

One highlight for me was the warmup for the processional- the rain had finally stopped, the sun had come out just in time to go down, and as the light dimmed, a growing number of players added their voice to the simple little tune ('Noite de Veran" from the Galician band "Milladoiro"). Something happened- a combination of music, ambiance, smiling faces- that created a glow that shone and warmed me inside and out. It lasted through the processional to the barn for the concert. I think I realized for the first time that I was a part of this, not just an onlooker.


I popped in on the morris workshop, with great pleasure, and learned a tune by Rich Morse as well as polishing up some other good old tunes. I found the workhop by Chip Hodges on accompanying your singing with an anglo, and found Howie there as well.


Let me add my voice to the chorus of praise for Geoff- what a pleasure to hear him sing and play such great old songs.


The concertina band was another experience of being part of the whole- I hadn't played in a band since high school, and this time we were all in tune! What fun! Then I found out a personal connection with the arranger, Mike Knudsen, which enhanced the experience for me. And I got to play the Morse prototype baritone for it, which set me salivating (not on the instrument, Rich, don't worry)!


The pub sing was great fun- some of the songs got rather salacious, so I had fun countering from the women's point of view ("The Chocolate song"). (Wendy, I'll be glad to share you some tips on "how to join in on the chorus"- it's much like "how to play by ear" without the circle of fifths!)


Best of all was meeting such good folks. It's great to put faces to names. I know I'll see many of you again!


(Edited to correct my too-early-in-the-morning typos!)

Edited by Animaterra
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Hi Britt,

Glad you could make it :)


I have quite a good recording of the second half of the concert so between us we should have the whole thing. I also have a good photo of you in the concert. I'll get around to posting it sometime today or tomorrow.



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Great meeting you too!

I'm sure if there was someone of note who went to the Wichita State music school who went on to achieve some sort of fame, I would have known about them

Thanks for the clarification and sorry that Gary looked like me.

By the way there were at least one or two other folks at the SI who once played saxophone and have moved onto concertina.

I guess it was due to a preference for a FREE reed experience.

One of the most frustrating things about playing the saxophone was the constant attention that needed to be paid to finding and maintaining the perfect reed and praying it would'nt break.

Also these reeds were expensive, not free!!!!!




Edited by Perry Werner
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This is my third attempt to post a message, so here goes.


There was an old squeezer from Devon

Who set out to find Squeezebox Heaven

Though they called him insane,

With his Crane, on a plane,

He went anyway....

And Boy, did he have a good time!


Here I am, back in my Dartmoor village of Buckland Monachorum ( it means in old latin, village of the monks, cos there was an ancient Cistercian Abbey here) and behind the sturdy, granite walls of my 400 yr-old cottage after an exhausting 8,000-mile round trip to the North East Squeeze-in.


I can't quite believe I have been to Massachusetts and back . Firstly, thanks to all those of you making kind comments about my playing on this website.I don't want this to send too much like an advert...but.My trio Speakeasy has recently made a five-track demo CD . I gave a copy to Doug at the Button Box . If we could put a

small tour of gigs together , just enough to cover out costs , we'd love to play the USA. Can anybody help?I can send band biog plus copy of demo etc. I could even post it as an e-mail and get one of my computer-friendly sons to help me turn the CD into an MP3-type file.


Richard Morse, Craig, Doug, Mario etc all deserve a medal for organising such an event . No wonder there is such a burgeoning interest in the concertina in the USA with enthusiasts like that about.


The Saturday concert was a kaleidoscope of music styles and presentation - Italian folk tunes, southern-style Cajun , French-Canadaian Quebecois , crazy jazz accordion, tunes on novelty clown concertinas, Rachel's great Shetland and Irish tunes on English , plus other fantastic players spewing out the Irish stuff on anglos,

Ken Sweeney's nautical and naughty song about a mermaid which I must steal,

a 20 -piece concertina band, a 10 yr-old boy and his grandad playing a Fats Waller number on melodeons.......and stonking music for the dance afterwards


The workshops were great, especially the one on paying by ear. It has made me think more deeply about the way I approach my music on the tina.


Dave Barnet's playing of classcal music on the Hayden duet was impressive . Likewise, Kurt Braun's four-part harmony Bach on his Crane duet was classy stuff. It was great to play with another Crane - we are a bit like an endangered species.

And who were the two coloured guys on the porch playing that fanastic, stomping stuff ? One with a two-row diatonic and the other beating out a rythmn on what looked like a piece of railroad track . It sounded like a cross between Cajun and south African township music . I blinked and they were gone- did I dream it?


They say music is an international language - I think we proved that this weekend.

And, to take up on what Dave wrote, it was a big thrill for me to play some of that 2o's and 30's Tin Pan Alley stuff in the big US of A .


I hear that the famous Tanglewood is just down the road -but for me the place to be seen and heard is Bucksteep Manor .


My only disappointment- and people kept telling me this- was not meeting and playing with Dave Cornell, who ironically, is apparently on his way over to hold workshops at Witney ( which I can't make.) Does he read this site? Can someone send him a message. Perhaps he can dash down here after for a brief visit to me.


Thanks again to everyone for making me so welcome.

Let the music keep your spirits high

Geoff Lakeman

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Hi Geoff:

No, you were'nt dreaming.


Not sure who those two gents were but they did perform at the end of the Sat. night contra dance.

You were very close onyour guess,

The music was Cape Verdean (Cape Verde Islands are in the Atlantic off Africa).


I stayed late to hear them before heading back to the lodge after the dance.

These guys were wonderful.

I'm sorry I did not get their names but

he box player was incredible and the guy playing the other instrument was a great rhythm "section"

The "instrument" was actually a cut length of a hollywod style bed frame!!!!!

The guys at the Button Box told me about it and I ran in to listen.

I thought it had to be a joke, but it sounded great.

I'm guessing that different lengths of bedframe (I think that's what it was) would yield differnet pitches, but whatever tuning the guy was using was perfect.

I heard that they played late due to getting lost on the way from their motel or something.

Also I was told that are either from the Boston or Providence, Rhode Island area, but I can't confirm that either.

Years ago i was a voluneteer in the U.S. Peace Corps and attempted teaching music in Sierra Leone in West Africa.

The instruments I had the kids there use were mostly found objects (coke bottles, empty food cans, rocks, sticks, whatever) and basically they were used to teach rhythm. As you might imagine gorgeous duet concertinas, accordions, and any shiny instrument were just unaffordable in this region, so we made due with what was available at the time and they worked like a charm.

Anyway, I'm thinking about cutting up my own bed to see what it sounds like.

Maybe next year I'll accompany myself on a bedspring.


Again, Geoff, great and inspiring playing.

Your voice has been with me since Saturday night.

Any chance we can get that demo CD?

And PLEASE let us know how we can help you get to the U.S to play.



Perry Werner



You can imag

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