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"Keeping Tradition Alive" by Beth Weick, as published in North Country News, April 2010

Music is a funny thing. We categorize it by station and artist, the instruments we like, the beat we prefer. It provides us with our preferred complaints and our choice head bops; it is our welcome distraction, our conversation, and our background filler as the circumstance dictates. But I suppose that what I'm describing is the music fed to us by radio waves and satellites, wired to our ears and pumped through speakers.

Isn't there something different about music that is created right in front of us? Sure, the same likes and dislikes insist on stating themselves, and good skill is more pleasant than the lack thereof. But to create music, to experience it before us…well, it makes for a pretty good time. There is a purpose to this thought, and here it comes. What I've got in mind is a good ole barn dance.

Some call it contra dancing, some call it traditional folk dancing, some call it New England barn dancing. You know what I mean? Fiddle players flying along with their bows and strings, calling out steps and sequences as the muddled groups before them sort themselves into an organized dance. There are lines, and circles, swing-your-partners and do-si-dos.

And the music is remarkable. Lively and up-tempo, with all the history of this northcountry life seemingly stuffed right in to each tune. The notes burst out and guide the dancers; dancers smile, laugh, (attempt coordination), and encourage the musicians.

Of course, this is all being said for a reason. Saturday, April 10 D Acres and the Cardigan Mountain Arts Association are hosting a family barn dance at the Enfield Community Center. And not just any dance…New Hampshire's renowned folk artists Dudley & Jacqueline Laufman – the "Two Fiddles" – will be calling the steps.

You don't want to miss this. Dudley has been calling barn dances for over fifty years, while he and Jacqueline have been touring as "Two Fiddles" since 1986. In 2009 Dudley was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship, our nation's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts, for his tireless efforts to promote and preserve New England barn dancing.

So consider this evening a must. The event will get started at 5pm with a potluck dinner – please bring a dish to share! Dancing will begin at 7pm. The event is free and open to the public, though donations are certainly welcome. Again, it's at the Enfield Community Center along Rt.4.

That should be all the details, but please give the farm a call or an email if you have more questions. 603-786-2366 or info@dacres.org. Join us in preserving a piece of traditional New England. You'll get a delectable meal, exquisite music, and some dance moves that just don't jive with rock-n-roll. Saturday, April10 at the Enfield Community Center, dinner at 5pm, dancing at 7pm. See you then!

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