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Greetings From The Squeeze-in


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Hi.

 

So here I am Saturday morning, setting up my laptop, which I brought with me as an aid for my "abc's of 'abc'" workshop when I notice that among the changes the new owners have effected in this place (and there are quite a few) is a WiFi base station (Apple AirPort) high on the wall behind the desk. So I figure no way it's unprotected, but what the hell, I'll give it a ry, and Voila!

 

They've also moved the pub to the space where the Button Box used to set up their shop, which has now moved to the Barn. The dining room has expanded into the old pub area.

 

The hurricaine mercifully bypassed the area, and in fact Friday afternoon was quite sunny, albeit windy. Nobody complained.

 

Last night was notable for many diverse jam sessions and sings in all quarters rather than the usual everybody in the front room jamming together. Bob McQuilen sat down next to me toward the beginning of the evening and we started playing through more of his tunes than either of us remembered. Jill Newton (of the old Vermont contradance band "Applejack," which recorded an album of Bob's tunes in the 70's) joined in, and we had a ball.

 

Later today, I'll be doing the abc workshop, my usual "Morris Tunes" swap, and sitting in on Rich Morse's "Hayden Round Robin" (there are four of us here with Haydens).

 

Time for breakfast. Gotta go.

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Say hi to my old buddy and bandmate Michael Reid. Tell him that the MOrris ale I was supposed to attend -- and which was responsible for me being unable to attend the SI -- was canceled because of the hurricane. Major bummer. Now I just have to sit here and practice tunes by myself (and clean up storm wreckage)

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Say hi to my old buddy and bandmate Michael Reid. Tell him that the MOrris ale I was supposed to attend -- and which was responsible for me being unable to attend the SI -- was canceled because of the hurricane. Major bummer. Now I just have to sit here and practice tunes by myself (and clean up storm wreckage)

Jim B,

 

So sorry that you have the mess to clean up. Hope you were not severly hit in your area.

 

What a bummer to miss the SI and have the alternate event cancelled.

 

How practical of you to use the time to practice.

 

Ta,

Helen

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[so sorry that you have the mess to clean up. Hope you were not severly hit in your area.

What a bummer to miss the SI and have the alternate event cancelled.]

 

Our area got clobbered -- 14 big oak trees down in the woods behind our house, numerous homes in the neighborhood badly damaged -- but our house was fine. Maybe it was the sound of concertina music in the howling height of the storm (it keeps the dogs from getting too panicky) kept trouble away.

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Jim B.,

 

You really were lucky since so many huge trees came down so close to you.

 

What a great idea about calming the dogs with concertina music. One of my dogs is ok with storms, but the other one gets frightened with loud noises or darkness. So, you can imagine what a storm -bigtime combination of dark and noise, does to her.

 

I'll try playing concertina next time and let you know how it goes.

 

Now, when the fourth of july fireworks go off....maybe I can play patriotic tunes for her!

 

Ta,

Helen

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Hi folks,

 

I turned down David's generous offer to look over his shoulder Saturday (hey, it was a weekend off), but I am now at a friend's on Cape Cod (will be job hunting this week).

 

Had fun, and at the last minute organized an Anglo Beginner's support group when I saw none of the real experts (i.e. the Kruskals) were present to talk about chord playing, etc. It went OK (thanks to Frank E. for helping out). Everyone got an appropriate sense of the typical choices you make when starting out, but of course no firm answers.

 

Bob, the black box got to the BB after they left Friday, so it didn't get to Bucksteep until Sunday. But the red one was there. I ragged everyone to try it, but it was not easy to get them to write in the book after playing only a few minutes. I did get some comments, and if I have the time and energy, will write more about the Edgley + Morse + Tedrow times we had. For all of you, each of these makers is curious about our reactions, and I will try to generalize later -- it's very late right now.

 

I took the red one with me to visit a friend in Boston Sunday afternoon (I left my Morse for a repair) and my friend and I had fun talking, singing, and playing in the park. She even tried it (never played before) and some strangers came up all excited. One had just ordered a (cheap) anglo for her (I gather boy) friend. A nice date, nicer thanks to a Tedrow concertina. What more can you ask (no, let's not answer that one!)

 

I won't be checking in much this week, maybe at start of Oct; livlihood (search for same) comes first!

 

Cheers,

Ken

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Me, again. Home, now.

 

What a weekend! Particularly for me. After reading my notes, I hope you'll forgive me for having the sense that it was all about me.

 

First, to address some of the above.

 

Say hi to my old buddy and bandmate Michael Reid.

 

He's my old buddy, too, and he was certainly there, although I didn't read your note until just now, and he's probably back in Boulder by now. I'm sure he'll read this thread (he knows about my first post in it).

 

Give my concertinas a squeeze for me ok?

 

I saw both of them. I'm not an anglo player, but I was there when Jody Kruskal played them both along with a Morse and an Edgley (Frank was right there, too). They looked and sounded fine, and Jody was happy with all the samples he played.

 

You will post your experiences won't you?

 

Where'd I leave off? Ahh, yes. Saturday breakfast. Then two morning sessions. First my abc tutorial, with about 6 or 8 participants and many more requests later for the handout I had prepared (I brought 15 copies). Then the Hayden thing. Rich M and I have been playing for 15 years or so and have 48-key Wheatstones, and two others, both with new Stagis, one of whom started a few months ago and the other a couple of years. As part of the session, I previewed the piece I had prepared for the talent show (my arrangement of Erik Satie's first Gnossienne) and was immediately asked for a copy of the music. We also had a nice long discussion about the state of the Morse Hayden project and the problems involved in getting quality concertina reeds made.

 

Then lunch (the food was, as usual, great throughout the weekend). This is where the weekend really started getting surreal. Rich Morse came up to me and said that Lynne Hughes, who has MC'ed the talent show for many years, had decided it was time for someone else to do it this year, and somehow my name came up. Moi!? Of course I agreed to do it.

 

Then my Morris tunes session. Some years I get many Morris musicians and we play tunes for each other to trade ideas. This time it was mostly non-Morris types, so we learned a few tunes and talked about how to make them danceable.

 

Then Ken Sweeney ran a session for concertina players where we were each invited to play something for general (well-intended) criticism. Again I played the Satie. The guy just to my left commented that the left hand part was very loud (a common problem with duets, where a single note on the right has to be heard over several notes making up a chord on the left).

 

Next period was the concertina band, led by some folks from Philadelphia who play regularly in such a band (they were deciding what to call it: Philly Squeeze Steak? Liberty Bellows?). We played some Sousa and other marches in arrangements commercially prepared for concertinas of various sizes. I played with the Baritone section on my Hayden.

 

Dinner, and then the talent show. Lynne graciously introduced me and passed on the traditional yellow plaid jacket that she always wore for the occasion. In addition to introducing the acts, it fell to me to read the limericks that had been submitted for the contest (I was not the judge). Some very good ones. Rich says he'll post them at the Button Box web site.

 

Some excellent acts (it's all a blur, though). When my turn came, it occurred to me that things had gotten a little silly with some of the previous acts and the limericks I had just read. The Satie is a rather somber (morose?) piece, and so rather than introduce it, I simply said "And now for something completely different" and sat down and played. I thought (I know) I played it better earlier in the day, but I kept getting compliments.

 

At one point I thought it might be funny if I unfolded a limerick as if to read it and then shook my head and put it on the bottom of the pile. But I decided not to do that but then it really happened. I looked at the 2nd prize winner and saw something that, while perfectly legible, I could not read. I looked at it in silence, and when someone said "you might want to read it aloud" or something like that, I said "I can't read this one." I paused a moment to milk the situation (just as I'm playing with your expectations now) and then invited the author to read it for me. It was Deirdre Cochrane. Here's what she wrote:

 

There were once several squeezable maidens

With designs on Dave Barnert's fine Haydens.

His touches inspired

Their lust and desire

But they didn't go home Hayden laden.

 

Later I asked her if she had written it before or after she knew I would be the one reading them. Before.

 

After the show, Peter Stix called a contradance, but I was too wiped from the MC gig to stay for it. I went back to the main house and did a little jamming. More compliments on my MC job and my performance. Before I knew it, it was 3:30 in the morning.

 

After breakfast Sunday, Bob Snope (chief repair guy at the Button Box) led a session on repair and maintenance of concertinas and accordions.

 

More jamming, and then time to go. Got home and took a long nap.

 

Obviously, I haven't told half of it, but I've been typing this for over an hour, and I think it's time to call it done.

 

Great weekend.

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One more thing I forgot to mention.

 

Saturday afternoon, I saw another old buddy that I hadn't seen in several years. I asked him if he had been at the S-I since Friday night, since I hadn't seen him. He said he had just arrived from New Jersey, and what inspired him to make the trip was my post.

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After missing the last three Squeeze-Ins, it was a thrill to be back and among "my people," the phrase so aptly used in the winning limerick. (Dave or Rich, can you post it?)

 

As always, the late-night lounge sessions with David Barnert and others were one of the highlights. Sometime past midnight (i.e. early Sunday) I noticed that we had six concertinas, perfectly balanced: 2 English, 2 Anglos, 2 Haydens.

 

Kudos to Rich, Doug, and the rest of the Button Box gang for another great event!

 

Gotta get to work ... sure could use some nap time today.

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Hi everyone. I was at the Squeeze-in from about 1pm to 11pm on Saturday. Saturday morning I logged on to Concertina.net and read David Barnert's post from the Squeeze-in. Thirty minutes later I was in my car driving up to Bucksteep. I'm in northern NJ, ten minutes from Rt 287, so it's an easy three hour drive for me. Thanks David, it was just the kick in the pants I needed to go up for the day.

The best part of the Squeeze-in is how friendly & helpful everyone is. No mattter what the question people always seem willing to take the time to fully explain the answer. For example, walking back from a workshop I asked Ken Sweeney about how he uses the bellows (this is on an English concertina) on Irish tunes. He sat down with me and showed me some great tricks I'd never thought of. At this same workshop it was great fun to hear Ken & Frank Edgley play the same tunes, Ken on English & Frank on Anglo concertina.

Bob Snope did an excellent workshop on bellows construction. Maybe next year Bob can build all the rest of a concertina for us during an hour long workshop.

At dinner Frank Edgley spent quite a bit of time telling me about building concertinas. Frank also had a 24 button Anglo there that I found fascinating. It has two rows of 6 buttons per side and is fully chromatic. I found this instrument very appealing and I probably picked it up at least 5 times during the ten hours I was at Bucksteep.

I also played around with the Tedrow concertina that was sitting between a Morse & Edgley. All of these concertinas sound & play great. The action is so smooth on all of them and they are beautiful instruments to look at. I find them all very impressive.

In the short time I was at the Squeeze-in it seemed like I saw a lot of English concertina players. Was it just me, or did the English players come out of the woodwork this year? Rachel Hall (a wonderful English concertina player) was playing David Cornell's cello English, and what an amazing sound that was. I swear I could hear each individual vibration those big reeds were producing.

Seemed like there were lots of piano accordion playeres too. When I arrived there was a group of them in red shirts (Squeezeplay?) playing near the front of the manor. Over the years I've heard some amazing PA playing.

Every year I've gone to Bucksteep I seem to be wowed by different players on different instruments. One year it was the English concertina and Bob or Rachel or Ken. A few years ago it was Nick, & both Davids on various Duet systems. This year it was Frank Edgley & Jody Kruskal on Anglo. Frank played a beautiful air at the concert, plus I heard him do some other tunes at a workshop; all of them great. This was the first time I've heard Jody play live and .....WOW!

I missed all the great jams Friday night, and had to leave just as the contra dance (and the great session in the dining area) was starting. Drats!

I only saw a small bit of the weekend and I'm sure I left lots out. How were the jams friday & saturday night?

bruce boysen

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Ahh, yes.... Back to a different reality. Even after getting 10 hours of sleep last night (making up for those lean past couple nights sleep) AND a mid-morning nap (just couldn't get myself going!), I'm finally getting back in gear....

 

This year was a bit different than most for me as there seemed to be a lot of venue issues that had to be dealt with (BS is in transition) though quickly resolved, as the prospective owners were very accommodating. Still, I was able to take in some workshops, stuff myself silly on the superb food, partook of some inspiring sessions, and spent a goodly chunk of the time just hanging out and connecting with "my people".

 

Which reminds me of the request to post the winning limerick (by Stephanie Muri):

 

If you cherish free reeds by the heap-full,

Come to Bucksteep, with chapel, no steeple.

You can squeeze all day long,

Play a tune, sing a song ---

And you'll certainly be with your people.

 

In due time I'll get some of the other limerick entries and weekend's shenanigans posted to our web site for all to hark and pine for. Toward that end, I'd appreciate any photos and reminisces from participants. Maybe the review of this year's event will the a compilation of several people's experiences?

 

Probably the "high" point for me came right near the end as things were winding down and becoming quite leisurely. I had only a bit more packing up to do but preferred hanging out with Jody, Rachel, and Kate instead.... which turned into a verrrry memorable session.

 

As always it seems that the S-I ends too soon for me. Quite a few people this year encouraged me to lengthen the event, an idea which we will take up seriously at our S-I decompression meeting later on this week. So far suggestions included working out logistics (food, workshops, etc.) to extend throughout Sunday afternoon -- and/or starting Thursday evening so to get an entire Friday as part of the event.

 

What do folks here think of an extended Squeeze-In? Would it be more enticing for you more far-flung ones? Would near folk take the time out to be here for the extended period?

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Rich Morse:

Which reminds me of the request to post the winning limerick (by Stephanie Muri):

 

For those of us who weren't able to make it, how many entries were there altogether, and is there a possibility that you'll post some of the other entries, too?

 

Oh yeah, and what about haikus?

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Michael Reid wrote:

 

As always, the late-night lounge sessions with David Barnert and others were one of the highlights. Sometime past midnight (i.e. early Sunday) I noticed that we had six concertinas, perfectly balanced: 2 English, 2 Anglos, 2 Haydens.
.

 

Let's see, Doug Barr and I were the Anglos, Rich Morse and David Barnert were the Haydens, and Ken Sweeney - and it must have been you Michael? I should have introduced myself - were the Englishes. I noticed this too, and reacted the same way. Where were the Maccanns? (singing "hearty" songs in the other room!) We only had one Crane player at the S-I; a beginner dispairing of finding a teacher...

 

Ken

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For those of you who weren't there, lots of jamming happened during the day as well as late night. The Button Box staff was so helpful and supportive. The atmosphere was warm and friendly. I do hope that the weekend is extended cause it's so much fun. Howie Leifer

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