Thursday, March 27, 2008

Heading East

About this time one week from tonight we'll have just finished playing for a dance in Glenside, PA. The first of five dances that we'll play in four days in the mid-Atlantic region. A week from tomorrow we'll play the Friday Night Dance at Glen Echo, MD and the night after that we'll drive (in Ted Hodapp's luxurious chariot) over to Shepherdstown, WV for their Sat. night dance. On Sunday April 6 we'll finish our dance flurry by playing (again at Glen Echo) for both the Waltz Time folks in the afternoon and the Sunday Night Dance folks in the evening. On Monday we'll hop on a plane, weary but joyful, for Minneapolis and a return to normalcy. No doubt Ted will sleep soundly Monday night! If you are in that part of the world please come out and dance and say hello.

A big Thank You goes out to Erik's Aunt Nikki, the president of our Swedish fan club and owner/operator of Nikki's Place. Following her suggestion I have upgraded this blog a little. The main new feature is the nifty email subscription option from Feedblitz. If you don't use a feed reader but still want to know when we add entries here you can sign up through this widget and it is supposed to send you an email. Let us know if you try it and it doesn't work.

I've also added a photo under the blog title. For now it's a shot I took of our dog Suzy during a hike last year at Effigy Mounds National Monument. I've also added a photo of the band and Ted huddled around the statue of Franklin Roosevelt's dog, Fala, taken during our last visit to D.C. in November of 2006.

We are all looking forward to next week's music and dance and hope to see some of you soon!

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's weekend at Tapestry

We had a busy day on Saturday, the official Vatican-sanctioned St. Patrick's day, at Tapestry in Minneapolis. We played both an afternoon Mostly Waltz dance and the regular evening contra dance. In between, Pat and Margie treated the band to a special dinner at their place.

The afternoon session wasn't overly crowded but the band and the dancers had a great time. We got to play a number of new waltzes (and even a new hornpipe turned schottische) and could really hear ourselves well. A very nice warmup for the much larger Waltz Time dance we'll be playing at Glen Echo in a couple of weeks.

The evening contra was nicely crowded and very high energy. Thanks to Patrice's inspiration we played more Irish tunes than usual (replacing some of our regular tunes in sets with similar traditional tunes) and really enjoyed it. We even closed the evening with a nice rendition of Planxty Irwin.

Back in February when we had a little time on Saturday afternoon Erik, Pat and I recorded a few tunes at Patrice's house while she was off earning a living. Here are a couple of mp3s from that afternoon:

We don't pretend to be an Irish traditional music band but we all love that music. This version of Sheehan's is loose but I think it has a good feeling to it.

We also played a sloppy but very fun version of Queen's Polka. It features Erik letting loose a little and shows some nice give and take between Erik and Pat. My guitar harmonization is sometimes OK and sometimes a little less than that but it doesn't stop the tune from being fun for me to listen to.

Here are some of the tunes we played at the Mostly Waltz session on Saturday afternoon. Like we do at Glen Echo we played 3 waltzes followed by a different couples' dance.

1) Mother's Day, January Waltz, Alice's Garden, Off to California (as a schottische, with my Off to Minnesota sandwiched between)
2) St. Louis Christmas, Last Call at Hawley-Cooke, The National Road, and a mystery hambo (Erik knows the names of the hambos but I don't)
3) Aubrey and Andrew's Wedding, Ballroom Echoes, Ms. P's Waltz, Riding on a Load of Hay (polka)
4) French Creek Waltz, Shaoxing Waltz, Evenings and Weekends, Tango Argentino
5) Two Rivers, Everybody Wins-Everybody Loses, The Highlandville Waltz, All of Me (swing)
6) Bighorn River Sunset, Steciak's, Bob's Angels (world premiere), another hambo?
7) Spring Forward (another world premiere), South of France (not sure if there were any more tunes after this)

At the evening dance we played some of these sets and tunes (not necessarily in this order):

Loaves and Fishes/Too Many Goats/Fifth and Walnut
Aly on the Plains/Hay to Market/Just 4 Guys
Angeline the Baker/Scollay's/Liberation
Bay of Fundy/Maid Behind the Bar/Mouth of the Tobique
Mason's Apron/Maggie in the Snow/Julia Delany
The Judge (Larry Unger) for a square dance, I think
Two Lieutenants/Sledding at Walnut Ridge/Emory's Crossing
Sweet Music/Why Ted Flies/Smash the Windows
All Fall Down/Flying Home to Shelly
another jig set that started with The Kesh Jig (a Ctopia first) and had a D modal jig in the middle and ended with Road to Lisdoonvarna

Waltzes: Favors Her Father, G for Gordy, Planxty Irwin