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Rip Bob Mcquillen


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Bob wasn't a concertina player. He played the piano and the piano accordion. But he was a guiding light for contradance musicians all over New England and the USA. He wrote many great tunes, best known is probably "Dancing Bear." He was often at the NorthEast Squeeze-In and ALWAYS at NEFFA.

 

Bob McQuillen, 90, remembered as New England music legend

 

Rest your face and hands*, Bob.

 

*Neither Bob nor I ever knew what that means, but he once told me his grandmother used to say it all the time.

 

Edited to add: It was a capital Q when I typed it, but this interface changes all words in thread titles to start with capitals and follow with small letters, no matter what is typed.

Edited by David Barnert
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Thank you, David. I strolled over here to CNet today, as someone reminded me that I first came here 10 years ago today!

I knew Mac and he was a hero to me and so many others. I sat at his side many nights in Nelson as I was learning to "boom chuck" and he always made room for me, offered suggestions, let me ask questions. I'll never be as good a player as he was. But what an honor to try to stretch to follow his giant's foot steps.

 

About 3 years ago a young man came to me to learn to "boom chuck". After two lessons I basically told him I was not worthy of his talent, and that he should go see Mr. Mac. Bob spent one trial session with him, and announced "For you, there will be no charge". Matt is now one of the best rising young contra pianists in the region. The others Bob helped number in the hundreds, or more probably thousands.

 

I still have my Jeffries and pull it out every now and then. It's nice to be back for a bit here.

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Bob wasn't a concertina player. He played the piano and the piano accordion. But he was a guiding light for contradance musicians all over New England and the USA. He wrote many great tunes, best known is probably "Dancing Bear." He was often at the NorthEast Squeeze-In and ALWAYS at NEFFA.

 

Bob McQuillen, 90, remembered as New England music legend

 

Rest your face and hands*, Bob.

 

*Neither Bob nor I ever knew what that means, but he once told me his grandmother used to say it all the time.

 

Edited to add: It was a capital Q when I typed it, but this interface changes all words in thread titles to start with capitals and follow with small letters, no matter what is typed.

Thanks for posting this, David. I've never met him, or even seen a Contra Dance in New England, but I certainly knew of him. Your post brought back floods of memories of the old LPs I listened to in the mid 1970s of the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra, in which Bob played the piano. Those lively, wonderful recordings helped get me through grad school....such an infectious optimism they had, and a lot of it due to the underlying rhythm - the heartbeat - provided directly by Bob. In later years I played a bit for contras here in Texas, and learned several wonderful tunes during that time that were written by him. RIP.

 

By the way, after lying dormant for many years, those recordings were released in CD form not too long ago by CDBaby. If winter cabin fever ever gets to you, try these out! http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/canterbury

Edited by Dan Worrall
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Bob wasn't a concertina player. He played the piano and the piano accordion.

 

He may not have been able to tell a concertina player which button to push, but he sure was one of those who could teach you how to make it sound like music... and like a dance. It was always a pleasure to see him, whether he was playing or not. :)

 

Pete Seeger, now Bob McQuillen, it's sad to see them go. But isn't it great that they've made it to 90 or beyond, inspiring others all the way. And because of that, there are members of younger generations who will some day be similarly remembered.

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To me, the sound of Bob's piano is the sound of contra dancing.

 

I remember running into him at the Friendly's in Lee, Mass. on my way to my first Northeast Squeeze In in the mid-90s and being awed. Enjoyed playing with him at various NESIs and at NEFFA. And it was a real kick playing Amelia at the NESI contra dance with Bob at the piano. Didn't we play McQuillen's Squeezebox as the NESI march once or twice? I plan to play Amelia a lot in the next few days.

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Thank you, David. I strolled over here to CNet today, as someone reminded me that I first came here 10 years ago today!

I knew Mac and he was a hero to me and so many others. I sat at his side many nights in Nelson as I was learning to "boom chuck" and he always made room for me, offered suggestions, let me ask questions. I'll never be as good a player as he was. But what an honor to try to stretch to follow his giant's foot steps.

 

About 3 years ago a young man came to me to learn to "boom chuck". After two lessons I basically told him I was not worthy of his talent, and that he should go see Mr. Mac. Bob spent one trial session with him, and announced "For you, there will be no charge". Matt is now one of the best rising young contra pianists in the region. The others Bob helped number in the hundreds, or more probably thousands.

 

I still have my Jeffries and pull it out every now and then. It's nice to be back for a bit here.

 

Welcome back, Allison. Seeing your chocolate rabbit avatar reminds me that when my wife and I were in England a couple of years ago (around Easter) our hotel left a complimentary chocolate rabbit in our room. One night we were invited to Roger Digby's house for a session and we brought it. Alan Day showed up, so we played the tune.

 

Sorry. I know this is disgracefully off-topic. I'll stop now.

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