to catch a flight from Manchester to BWI, arriving at .Shuttle
to the Doubletree Hotel in Bethesda, Maryland.Checked
in at the Doubletree Hotel in Bethesda, Maryland where all the recipients were quartered. Warm
half mile to the nearest Metro station, to see how long it would take. 10 min.Had a cup of gaspatcho and a beer at a café there, walked back to the
hotel to find a small feast of bread and cheese and wine, given to us in our
room by the NEA.
At the orientation that evening at
the Doubletree Hotel, (more food) each recipient was given a gold National
Heritage Fellow lapel button by Barry Bergey, Director of the National Endowment
for the Arts. They were all introduced and each one told a bit about their
tradition. There were eleven recipients. THE BIRMINGHAM SUNLIGHTS, A cappella
gospel group, Birmingham, Alabama. EDWIN COLON ZAYAS, Cuatro player, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. CHITRESH DAS, Kathak dancer, San Francisco, California. LEROY GRABER, Willow basket maker, Freeman, South Dakota. “QUEEN” IDA GUILLORY, Zydeco musician, Daly City, California.DUDLEY
LAUFMAN, Dance caller and musician, Canterbury, New Hampshire.AMMA
D. MCKEN, Yoruba Orisha singer, Queens, New York. JOEL NELSON, Cowboy poet, Alpine, Texas.TERI
ROFKAR, Tlingit weaver and basket maker, Sitka, Alaska. SOPHILINE CHEAM SHAPIRO, Cambodian classical
dancer, Long Beach, California.2009
Bess Lomax Hawes Award, MIKE SEEGER, Musician, cultural scholar, and
advocate, Lexington, Virginia.
Late supper at the Mattesons, Gary and Sabrina.They had lived in
Epsom, NH, and their three boys were fiddle students and
apprentices of ours.Sabrina and
Gary gave up growing anenomes for the Boston market to work in DC for Farm Bureau and Farm
Credit.They live in a narrow three
floor house on D Street.
afternoon we were all bussed to the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center on
Capitol Hill for a public ceremony where each awardee received a beautiful green
marble plaque engraved with gold. Dudley’s was given by Mrs. Judd Gregg, wife of
Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. Dudley has played for their children when they were
students at the WellSchool in Peterboro, New Hampshire, and also for Judd’s father, Hugh, when he was
governor of New Hampshire.
this event we all walked over to the Library of Congress for a splendiferous
banquet in the marbled foyer with grand fluted columns. The gilded, vaulted
ceilings with colorful inlaid mosaic heightened the sense of homage and honor
that the Arts community was bestowing on these Fellows. As they spoke in turn at
the podium, it became clear that there were two aspects of their story that were
the same for each one: they all followed a passion that had first stirred within
them long ago; and, it was important that they were passing down their art form
and tradition to others who were learning from them.
morning, , we took the Metro into Capitol Hill to accept
an invitation for coffee from Senator Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire.She
was governor of New Hampshire when Dudley received the New Hampshire Governor’s Award
from here in 2001.We had coffee,
had a picture taken, the three of us.Reminded
us of the dance at the Govoernor’s Award in 2001 when the three of us danced
Le Papillion.Saw Chick Colony’s
son from Harrisville.
the metro to the StrathmoreMusicCenter in Bethesda for our first rehearsal for the concert to be
held Thursday. Dudley and I were joined here by his musicians and dancers who
were to perform with him. Vince O’Donnell, fiddle, Ted Levin, fiddle, Sylvia
Miskoe, accordion, and Neil Orzechowski, piano. Dancers were five of Dudley’s children, Heidi King, Bronwen Rainaud,
Nathaniel Laufman, Singwen Mientka, Windelyn Homer,two grandchildren, Jacob King and Max Homer,his sister Ann Mason, and a niece, Sara Mason, and my daughter, Laura.
Later that afternoon there was a rehearsal for the grand finale.
evening we played for a house dance in Takoma Park at the home of Loretta Kelley. There was no
keyboard but there was an old pump organ. Neil had great fun with this. What a
funky sound…four fiddles, accordion and organ. Dudley noticed there were some morris dancers
there…Bob Dupre, Charlie Pilzer, Dudley’s sister Ann, her daughter Sara, me, and
another guy. Dudley, after much arm twisting, (“We don’t have
bells, we don’t have hankies, I don’t know Bampton”) cajoled us into doing
a sandlot morris version of Bampton Highland Mary. It was great. Lots of energy.
Dudley finally got to meet Marcia Segal from the
Library of Congress who had located some rare recordings for him of SammySpring, Happy Hale, and Arthur Hanson.
& music @ Takoma ParkLady of the Lake, Swing Your Jenny, (Flop Eared Mule/ Fisher’s
Hornpipe) Petronella, (Finnegan’s Wake) Money Musk, Chorus Jig, French
had dress rehearsals. Before the big performance, Dudley took all of us out to eat at a French
restaurant, La Madeliene. The big performance was that evening at the StrathmoreMusicCenter. All the recipients took part. Basket weavers
had slide shows and interviews with Nick Spitzer, host of the radio program
American Routes.Mike Seeger, who
got the Bess Lomax award, had died in August.He did get the award at bedside before he died.His wife, Alexis, was interviewed with a nice video of Mike presented at
the large screens. She was radiant. There was one video of Mike playing a Jews
harp and diddling McLeod’s Reel (Hop High Ladies) finishing with “Deedle
deedle deedle deedle deedle, dot com.”
was less of a performance, more of a kitchen junket. We opened with Dudley’s tune Mistwold, once through. Then Nick
Spitzer did a short interview (“How did you get started?”) Then Mistwold
again while the dancers hung around the piano until Dudley said “OK, time to dance, let’s do a Virginia
Reel.”Music switched to Dudley’s tune deMartelly three times through. Dudley
and I put down our fiddles and jumped into the top of the set as the music went
into the Money Musk (what else), and we gleefully shuffled our way through that
three times. Then the music went back to Mistwold, and the dancers did more
reeling and promenading while Dudley and I got our fiddles and got the audience
to “la la la” along with us.
Reception followed and much visiting with friends who came to see the show.
Among them were Debby Vines (Quimby) all the way from Wales, and Johanna Berman (Quimby) from Illinois.They
had grown up on Mistwold Farm.
thanks to Madeleine Remez and Ann Kogan who coordinated and arranged all our
travel and hotel reservations from beginning to end.We had met them at our gig at the Lowell Folk Festival in July, where
they also did the same great job of taking care of us.
Friday and without a break went right into my oldest daughter Becky’s weddingrehearsal and dinner and great wedding on Saturday. Dudley is still on cloud nine, and I still haven’t
kitchen table, set on a bold brass stand, the marble plaque reads:
Laufman from Canterbury, Sept 30, 2009
It was really a privilege to be able to
join all of you in that amazing event.
What a great collection of talent. I was fascinated by the way people
loosened up as the performance went on - it seemed that as each performer
finished, they started to lighten up and relax. On
the plane home from DC Friday, I happened to sit next to Sen. John Kerry,
and told him about the event, and the National Heritage Fellowship
program - I said that I know a lot of folks complain to him about
what they think the government does wrong, but this amazing display
of America's cultural breadth is definitely something they do right.
He was curious about our music, asked about the fiddle music [he knows
me from my day job as an affordable housing person], and sort of sheepishly
said that he plays guitar - showed me the long finger nails he
uses for picking. If the
ever does arrive, I can't wait to show it to Marcia, Liora and
friends who couldn't get there.