Welcome to the Maine Folque Co-Op website. Our mission at the Maine Folque Co-op is to honor Maine's cultural heritage by bringing the generations together through traditional music and dance.
We've undertaken a variety of projects toward this end over the past couple of years, the most exemplary of which was a collaborative community residency during the spring of 2012 which served to spotlight and celebrate Lewiston's French-Canadian roots. We look forward to exploring many other ethnic music and dance traditions in the coming months and years, while continuing to support and encourage Maine's own “indigenous” folk dancing - New England contra dancing - and the music that inspires it. Please feel free to explore our website, including our sample Video Clips and Links to media coverage to see some of what we've been up to, and drop us a line if you have questions, would like to offer feedback or have ideas for future activities.
The Folque Co-op is pleased to bring NY's fabulous young Strawberries & Raspberries to the Twin Cities!
An ensemble of more than two dozen young string players from the state of New York will descend on Lewiston-Auburn this week to perform a public concert as well as share their talents with local school children and retirement community residents.
Hailing from the the Poughkeepsie area, the Strawberry Hill Fiddlers and their slightly younger “JV” team, the Raspberry Fiddlers, are known for their ability to wow audiences with their stellar fiddling techniques representing a variety of genres. Their repertoire includes everything from lively Celtic jigs and lilting English country dance tunes to sassy ragtime numbers and old-time Appalachian melodies, with songs and dance routines adding further pizazz to their shows.
On Sunday, March 29, the ensemble of 25 fiddlers, cellists and bass players will appear in concert at the Temple Shalom synagogue in Auburn. Designed for a family audience, the 3 p.m. program will include such selections as the elegant “Bare Necessities” waltz, the saucy “Acorn Stomp,” the spicy Cajun two step “Jig Francais,” and the rousing “North Carolina Breakdown,” during which the young musicians will gleefully abandon their fiddles and transform into clog dancers.
Admission to the concert is $8 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens, with tickets available at the door only and seating offered on a first-come/first-served basis. Doors will open a half-hour before the show starts. The Temple Shalom is located at 74 Bradman Street, which runs parallel to the Veterans Bridge off Center Street/Route 4 in Auburn.
Temple Shalom rabbi Sruil Dresdner, who is himself a musician, says “The members of our temple are delighted to be able to provide a performance venue for these extremely gifted young folk musicians. We hope that local residents turn out in large numbers to help us cheer them on.” Dresdner's wife, Lisa Mayer, is a highly accomplished klezmer fiddler who is adding to the spirit of hospitality by offering the youngsters a free workshop in klezmer fiddle techniques after their concert.
The young musicians will remain in the community for a two-day residency during which they will perform for students and staff at three Lewiston elementary schools – Martel, Geiger and Montello – as well as at East Auburn School. They will also entertain residents at Schooner Estates Retirement Community in Auburn, all at no charge. In appreciation for sharing their talents so generously in the community, Bates College will treat the entire group to free lunch at the college's dining commons on Monday, followed by a tour of the campus.
The “Strawberries & Raspberries,” as they are known collectively, comprise students from 15 different middle and high schools in New York's Hudson Valley. The folk bands are sponsored by Stringendo, a community music school through which the youngsters also study classical music. The fiddlers' upcoming visit to Maine is the latest in a series of semi-annual concert tours during which which they have ventured as far west and south as Minnesota and Louisiana, and even across the Atlantic to Scotland and England. And four years ago, the Strawberries were selected as contestants for the popular television show “America's Got Talent,” which brought them to “show biz alley” in the heart of New York City.
When the co-director of Stringendo's fiddle program, Carole Schaad, caught wind of a performance opportunity at this year's DownEast Country Dance Festival, happening in Topsham on March 28, she quickly signed up both groups to perform in a Young Fiddlers Extravaganza, where they will share the stage with Maine's Folque Co-op Fiddlers. While at the festival, they will also participate in a French-Canadian Fiddle Styles workshop.
A native Maine Franco-American who was born and raised in Winslow, Schaad is pleased to be able to bring her young music proteges to her home state, where, she says, they are eager to “meet and make music with Maine fiddlers, learn some indigenous Maine-Franco tunes, and entertain area residents young and old.”
We at the Maine Folque Co-op are pleased to be able to bring the Strawberries/Raspberries ensemble to Lewiston-Auburn where their music will enrich the lives of so many. We are also thankful that they are directing the proceeds from Sunday's concert at Temple Shalom towards the support of our own fledgling youth music program. For more information on the upcoming concert or residency, or the Folque Co-op itself, email email@example.com, or call Cindy at (207) 782-0386.
More information about the Strawberry Hill Fiddlers & Raspberry Fiddlers is available on the Stringendo Music School's website at www.stringendoweb.org.
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Strawberries/Raspberries Lewiston-Auburn Residency Schedule
Sunday, March 29
- 3 pm concert at Temple Shalom, 74 Bradman Street in Auburn
- 7 pm workshop in klezmer fiddle techniques with Lisa Mayer
Monday, March 30
- 10 am performance at Martel Elementary School, Lewiston
- 11:30 am lunch at Bates College dining commons, followed by a campus tour
- 2 pm performance at East Auburn Elementary School, Auburn.
- 2:15 pm performance at Schooner Estates Retirement Community, Auburn.
Tuesday, March 31
- 9:30 am performance at Montello Elementary School, Lewiston.
- 10 am performance at Geiger Elementary School, Lewiston.
The Great Falls Folk Orchestra
In early 2013, the Folque Co-op established a community folk orchestra based in Lewiston-Auburn. This affable multi-generational ensemble – which numbered over a dozen musicians ranging in age from 13 to, shall we say, ageless – performed under the enthusiastic direction of Doug Protsik. A seasoned musician equally adept on piano, fiddle and accordion, Doug was a founding member of the legendary Maine Country Dance Orchestra and he continues to play with the bands Old Grey Goose and Frank Ferrel & the Feral Cats while serving as the director of Maine Fiddle Camp. He worked with the members of the folk orchestra to build a repertoire of music which reflects Maine's cultural heritage in particular, from jigs-&-reels to two-steps to waltzes and more. You'll find some examples of this music here on our website, starting with our homepage “theme” music (the reel “Maple Sugar,” one of Maine fiddler Simon St. Pierre's favorites, as recorded “raw” at an early orchestra practice session). For more, click on the yellow button on the audio files bar at the top right. While the full orchestra is currently "in hibernation," subsets of the group (such as the "Sizzling Shamrocks" referenced above) continue to perform at numerous venues throughout the local community and beyond.
And here's an audio-visual glimpse of some of the ensemble in action at a rehearsal last year (click on image below to start video):