2011 Governors Arts Awards
New Hampshire Folk Heritage
Award Recipient: Sylvia Miskoe, Concord
Sylvia Miskoe of Concord, NH is recognized statewide for her deep and long-lasting influence on New Hampshire’s traditional music and dance. As an inspiring musician, teacher, publisher, and founder of the Strathspey and Reel Society of New Hampshire, her contributions to our state’s musical lore (particularly Scottish and French-Canadian music and New England Contra-dancing) are legendary.
Sylvia’s Scottish country dance band, The White Cockade, is the oldest band of its type in New England. Sylvia has served on the Board of Directors for the New Hampshire Gathering of the Scottish Clans and is involved in the music at the New Hampshire Highland Games. She was one of the traditional artists who represented New Hampshire at the 1999 Smithsonian Folklife Festival and also at the Northwest Folklife Festival. In her travels to Scotland, China, Russia, and Canada, Sylvia has been an unofficial New Hampshire ambassador of traditional music and dance, bringing our traditional dances and music to the wider world. Sylvia is also a devoted teacher and has served as master artist for two NHSCA Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grants, passing on the arts of Scottish accordion playing to apprentice Douglas Brunson.
As her fellow musician Dudley Laufman put it, “many of us Yankee musicians, callers, and dancers might show subtle body language and joy in response to the musical occasion, but when it comes to facial expression … with Sylvia Miskoe, the music just makes her beam with happiness.”