Winter 1996 -- Volume XXII#4
Editor: Angel Roman


President's Message

On one Sunday afternoon each month from now until March the NEFFA Board meets. We gather at someone's house around 1pm, bringing snacks for a mid-meeting break. With the agenda before us we ponder, we discuss, we argue - and we laugh a lot. We make decisions or we refer matters to committees, always with our minds on the matter before us: the upcoming Festival.

The Board meetings of some organizations can be deadly dull, or angrily contentious. Ours don't seem to be, and I think it's because our end result is so gratifying. We are all looking forward to the grand party we are working towards: the Festival. We enjoy it so much, and get such positive feedback from those who attend that working on producing it is very satisfying.

The Board is made up of both elected and appointed members. The latter are Chairs of the various working committees of NEFFA. In addition to the Festival Committees, there are others which oversee less well-known NEFFA activities: the Grants Committee, the Thursday Night Dance Committee, Membership, Publicity, the Ralph Page Memorial Committee, and the NEFFA News. Each of these offers opportunities to try out skills or hone talents which may not be used in our regular lives.

We are always looking for new people to join us in our activities. Elsewhere in this issue you will find news of some committees actively searching for new members; most committees would welcome interested people at any time. Board meetings are open to all NEFFA members, and are a good place to learn more about what might be fun to be involved with. The next meeting will be on Sunday, December 8; call Dan Pearl, NEFFA Secretary at (508) 229-2854 for information about time and place. I hope to see new faces there!

-- Nancy Hanssen, President

Have anything to say about the folk scene in general? A concern, or a potential solution to a problem, or a "That's great - lets keep doing it"? Write to the editor! I'm not making any promises, but maybe I'll be able to fit it in.
E-Mail me! , or send it to me at my new address: 15 Lindsay St., Framingham, MA 01702. Be sure and indicate the subject: 'Letter to the Editor' so I'll know you intend it to be printed. Looking forward to hearing from you! -- Angel Roman, Editor

Volunteer Now For NEFFA

There are many ways of volunteering for NEFFA, and some of our committees are looking for help right now! If you would like to learn a new skill while you help out, sign up now and we will train you. Ever wonder exactly what it is those sound people do with all the little dials and knobs? We'll show you! Ever want to know how it all comes together? Come be a part of it! Here are some descriptions of what Sound volunteers do at the Festival:
Sound Crew: Either having taken one of our workshops, or getting paired up with a more experienced person at the festival, or previous experience is a requirement. These are the folks who get to play with the dials and knobs!

Stage Crew: Previous experience preferred but not required. Helping the professional engineers in the dance halls.

Setup and Takedown: This happens on the Thursday and Friday before the Festival, and after it's over Sunday afternoon. Most aspects of this are no experience required.

Lighting: Previous experience hanging and focusing theater lights strongly preferred. Needed Friday afternoon and Sunday evening.
To volunteer now for Sound, contact Mike Bergman at (508)392-8626 (w), or (617)964-7684 (h) or e-mail him at:

Arrangements is also looking for volunteers. We need people to actually help plan and organize the Festival, starting now, and people to help out before and after the Festival. Here are some descriptions of what you could do for Arrangements.

Facilities Chair: We need someone who would be interested in learning to oversee the work of arranging for the use of the school, and parking, and everything else we need to obtain the use of to put on the Festival. This work is going on right now, and you would have support from experienced people.

Signs Chair: You know all those signs at the Festival (PARK HERE!, DON'T PARK HERE!, CHANGING ROOM!, DON'T BLOCK DOORWAYS!)? How would you like to decide what signs to put up and where to put them? Think of the power you'd have! This work is also going on right now, and again, you would have support from people with previous experience.

Signs Volunteer: These are the people who actually put up and take down the signs before and after the festival.

Setup and Takedown: This happens before and after the Festival.
To volunteer now for Arrangements, contact Bob Solosko at home at (617)942-7541 (h), or e-mail him at:

Please let us know immediately if you are interested in any of these activities. Thank you.

-- Angel Roman, Editor

Call for Nominees

NEFFA is a non-profit organization run by volunteers. In addition to producing an annual Folk Festival, NEFFA runs a weekly contra dance, the Ralph Page Legacy Weekend, and a series of family dances. NEFFA also supports various folk-related activities through its grants program. Our traditions and bylaws encourage member participation in a number of ways. While many of you are no doubt familiar with the role of volunteering at the Festival, you may also know that NEFFA's goals of preserving folk traditions are actually overseen by an Executive Board, composed of elected and appointed members. Under NEFFA's bylaws, elected Directors are expected to chair or be a member of a committee or to take on other responsibility. Interested NEFFA members can also become actively involved in administration by volunteering to take on a position of responsibility.

Each year, the Nominating Committee prepares a ballot for the elected members of the Board. We encourage all suggestions from NEFFA members. NEFFA's bylaws also encourage direct nomination by its members: "The name of any eligible person suggested by twenty-five or more members is included on the ballot, if he or she consents." Please send all such suggestions to Nominating Committee Chair Susan Janssen either by email ( or by mail (28 Whitman Rd., B-2, Waltham, MA 02154) by January 15, 1997.

The present Elected Board members are named below. Those positions for which the incumbent's term ends in 1997 are to be filled in the April election. Directors and Officers serve two-year terms and may be re-elected for one additional term (the Secretary and Treasurer are always eligible for re-election). Members of the Nominating Committee serve for a single three-year term. Except for those marked with an asterisk, incumbents are eligible for re-election. Positions to be filled are in boldface.

OfficeNameTerm Expires
PresidentNancy Hanssen1997
Vice-PresidentBob Solosko1998*
SecretaryDaniel Pearl1997
TreasurerRalph Jones1998
Nominating CommitteeSusan Janssen1997*
Lisa Greenleaf1998*
Elsa Elliott1999*
DirectorsShelagh Ellman-Pearl1998
Lori Fassman1998
Rayna Tulysewski1998
Jack Janssen1997*
Claire Reid1997
Angel Roman1997
Janet Yeracaris1997*
Linda Palmstrom1998

In recent years, Nominating Committees have generally recognized that NEFFA is a large organization with a geographically dispersed membership and that most of these members do not know each other or the candidates. There have been a few issues facing NEFFA on which candidates might take opposing views. Thus, there is little point to a popularity contest, with losers as well as winners. Most ballots, therefore, have presented uncontested slates. Unless a meaningful choice on some issue comes up, we anticipate continuing this tradition.

-- The Nominating Committee

Tenth Annual Ralph Page Legacy Weekend

The Ralph Page Memorial committee is pleased to announce that the tenth Ralph Page Legacy Weekend will be held on Friday January 17 - Sunday January 19, 1997. It will be held at the Durham campus of the University of New Hampshire, in the Memorial Union Building. As with the previous weekends, it will feature lots of traditional and contemporary contradancing and square dancing, including many old favorites from the Ralph Page repertoire.

New England squares and contradances are currently done throughout the country and in many other countries as well. Much of the credit for this goes to Ralph Page, the Dean of New England callers, who kept dancing alive and healthy in New England through times when no one else was calling traditional dances. The Ralph Page Legacy Weekend will feature some of the best music available, and will promote the vitality of modern contradancing together with the elegance and polish insisted on by Ralph Page.

The weekend will feature an outstanding staff of well known musicians and callers. There will be three dance parties beginning on Friday evening and continuing through Sunday afternoon, including the Banquet and Grand Ball on Saturday evening.

Callers will include Susan Kevra, Tony Saletan, George Hodgson and Scott Higgs, with a variety of callers from Maine (John McIntire, Bill Olson, Nancy Raich) plus Johnny Trafton from Nantucket on Friday night. Musicians will include Drastic Measures (David Kaynor, Robin Kynoch, Rick Mohr, Bruce Rosen), Mary Kay Brass, and Dave Langford. The Friday night dance will feature two of New Hampshire's finest musicians, Bob McQuillen and Harvey Tolman. On Saturday there will be a Retrospective honoring Ralph Page. Other highlights include the Grand Ball on Saturday evening, featuring a variety of musicians and callers; and workshops on many aspects of square dancing and contradancing, including music, dance, and calling. Workshop topics include Ralph Page's Music (led by Bob McQuillen) and playing and calling singing square dances.

As in past years, there will be a number of folklorists speaking on topics of interest to dancers and musicians, and tours of the Ralph Page collection of books, magazines, and records in the UNH library.

Reservations will be necessary for the Grand Dance, and for all meals; all other events may be attended without advance reservation. For information on reservations for the weekend, further details on the weekend, consult the brochure.

-- Ralph Page Memorial Committee

Summary of the Minutes of the NEFFA Exec Board

4 May 1996

Call to Order (Nancy Hanssen)
The meeting was called to order at 10:15am at the home of Shelagh Ellman-Pearl and Dan Pearl by President Nancy Hanssen.

Secretary's Report (Dan Pearl)
There were a few minor corrections to the minutes of the 24 March 1996 meeting.

Treasurer's Report (Ralph Jones)
Membership numbers seem to be down 150 from last year this time. Jack Janssen wanted more information on how membership benefits NEFFA. FAC is buying a copier; NEFFA's share of the expense is $400.

Zesty Contras (Larry Jennings)
Zesty Contras is now out of print. A motion was passed to obtain approximately 750 copies. A subcommittee overseeing the reprinting will consider price increases.

New Board Member Orientation Book (Susan Janssen)
A draft is available for comment and review. Final versions will be available at the first meeting in the fall.

Task Forces
In lieu of a summer meeting, task forces were established to investigate issues of importance: Festival Operations, Sound Procurement, and, later, Gender-Free Issues. The task forces will come to future meetings with proposals and reports.

Crafts (Emily Ferguson)
There was some sound spill from instrument vendors into the Main Hall. Many thanks to Emily for years of fine work. Mary Stafford will be taking over the Crafts Room.

Program (Janet Yeracaris)
Larry: Art Room was not suitable as a rest area. Spare time in the room should be devoted to informal discussion (following formal discussion). Janet: It could be used as a rest area, but intermixing programmed and non-programmed time is problematic. Dan: Discussions in the Loft with music downstairs would work.

Larry gave some opinions on how a gender-free dance should be run and/or billed. The gender-free task force was created at this time. People want more program information in the booklet: program philosophy, regrets ("Sorry, but Rise Up Singing couldn't come this year"), more crafts and bazaar information.

Arrangements (Bob Solosko)
It was suggested that we get at least one handicapped-accessible portapotties. How do we make accommodations for people without HC plates, but with special needs? Parking: Police will post on Pond St. if we ask. Two buses to Natick Labs seemed to work. We should have large stockpiles of maps to the overflow parking areas. Every flyer we print should advertise the Natick Labs. We put a piano in the South Room for jamming; was it used? Let's put them in places where they are going to be used, because they are expensive to rent. Teardown was done by 9:15, including the run to the storage locker. This is a new record! We had a discussion of pager snafu. Is Board Member on Call pager useful? Page should give indication of priority. Ralph needs to be contacted regularly; does he need a pager? We need to increase water supply in the building. We will investigate how to address this. We should price out ways to improve ventilation in the school (fan repairs, exhaust fan in Lower Hall, etc.) The coat rack location was well received except for occasional crowding with lines at instrument check. Dan: I visited the school the following day. The custodians said that there was lots of rubbish -- mostly juice and soda cans. Michael Resnick is going to make uni-signs for guiding people to many destinations. Jack Janssen is not going to do outside signs. Other people are being sought.

Sound (Michael Bergman)
Addendum to distributed report: There were a few complaints about caller intelligibility during medleys. We were shorthanded on personnel in the volunteer sound hall, which resulted in lower quality sound. We will scrutinize the sound book comments.

Lisa: The Button Box disturbed the people in the so-called "Rest Area". It was crowded past Performer Sales; did they use the wrong corridor?

Hospitality & Instrument Check (Shelagh Ellman-Pearl)
Did anyone call the Board Member on Call? All went well in Instrument Check. Should we check tape recorders and camcorders?

Housing (Elsa Elliott)
Hotels raised their rates beyond what was printed on the flyer. I'm considering having a more detailed housing flyer. Bob: Should we run a bus a few times a day to a centrally-located motel?

Safety (Rayna Tulysewski)
We should have a mop and sponge available. Jamming problem in some areas, especially doorways during performances; can we get cones? I'll be handling opening next year. John will handle closings on Friday and Saturday.

Tickets (David Reid)
Report distributed. Ticket sales are down somewhat.

Volunteers (Nancy Hanssen)
Report distributed. Getting volunteers is getting harder and harder. Also, people are volunteering fewer hours. People encouraged us attempting to broaden our base of support. The amount of compensation for the various jobs was discussed.

Activity Room (Linda Palmstrom)
Brief discussion of what was done with the pisanky eggs. The exhibitor quote was for hundreds of dollars. Given that, the previously passed motion concerning fees in the Activity Room was set aside after consultation with some officers. This issue will be discussed again in the fall. Volunteers seem to be in short supply in this room. We should come up with some creative ways to address this situation.

T-Shirts, etc.
We've got a bunch left. Including post-NEFFA sales, the shirts have broken even. The mugs sold poorly. Dan suggested a few ways to promote sales: Lobby display, have ticket vendors wearing shirts, and give "super-volunteers" (people who donate over 4 hours of time) a shirt. We should give bus drivers shirts early.

Non-Profit Manual
Shelagh suggested that NEFFA purchase the 2-volume manual for Massachusetts non-profit organizations, at a cost of $125 plus $50 for annual updates. Leslie would keep them for reference. Emily suggested that the purchase could be pooled with CDS and FAC, but Leslie thought that if the books were at the office, it would be inconvenient to use. There were no objections to the purchase.

Webpage (Dan Pearl)
The webpage was a great success. We had over 1800 visits to our site in advance of the Festival. We hope to continue the site as a resource throughout the year.

Future Meeting Dates
As of press time, the following meeting is scheduled: December 8th at 1pm. Interested NEFFA members are invited to attend. Contact Secretary Dan Pearl for more details.

New 4th Saturday Dance in J.P.

There's a new dance series in Jamaica Plain. A traditional New England barn dance with contras, squares, circles, waltzes, and polkas. The series is sponsored by the JP Firehouse Multicultural Arts Center and features live music by JP's own band, the PuddleJumpers (Hanneke Cassel, Steven Cushing, Kathy Goode, Louis Kaplan, Jodi Maranchie, Damaris Rohsenow, and occasional guests). Callers include Tamara Golden, Angel Roman, Steve Boylan, Priscilla Adams, and Chris Ricciotti.

Day:Fourth Saturday of every month (except April because of NEFFA)
Time:8pm - 10pm
Place:JP Firehouse Multicultural Arts Center, 659 Center Street, Jamaica Plain, Mass. (Next to JP Post Office, #39 bus from Copley Square, Heath St., Arborway, or Forest Hills.)

Copyright © 1996 New England Folk Festival Association