FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 11, 2008
Shelly Angers, NH Department of Cultural Resources
New Hampshire musicians to perform at celebration of Québec’s founding
This summer, people from around the world will gather in Québec City to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the city’s founding and the influence of French culture in North America. As part of the festivities, musicians from each New England state will perform music traditional to the region at a daylong concert. David Surrette, Rodney Miller and Gary Sredzienski will represent New Hampshire.
Crossroads: Music Traditions of New England is New England’s performing arts contribution to the year-long celebration called Québec 400. Crossroads will take place throughout the day on July 4, at the newly constructed Grand Square on the banks of the St. Lawrence River.
Produced by Van McLeod, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources, Crossroads features acoustic musicians from each of the six New England states who will showcase traditional music in groups, duets and as solo performers, playing fiddle, guitar, bass, double bass, flute, accordion, banjo, cello, violin, mandolin, foot percussion, Celtic finger-style guitar and vocals.
“Music is shaped by individuals, communities and the mixing of cultures, and New England’s traditional music is a wonderful blend of French, Native American, Celtic, Scandinavian, Anglo and other influences,” said McLeod. “It is a great honor for New England to be able to perform at Québec 400—and on July 4th, no less.”
“I see Crossroads as a cultural roots event, bringing together the different communities that have settled the North East region,” explained Agnès Novak, Crossroads’ production manager. “I hope it provides an opportunity to build up strong culturalties among all of these communities, including the American Indian nations that were here when the Europeans arrived."
The musicians participating in Crossroads are:
- Rodney Miller and David Surrette (New Hampshire), strings
- Gary Sredzienski (New Hampshire), accordion
- Nightingale (Vermont), contradance band
- Crooked Still (Massachusetts), bluegrass band
- Pierce Campbell (Connecticut), guitar and vocals
- Pegheads (Rhode Island), bluegrass band
- Hawk Henries (Maine), Native American flute
“This stellar group of musicians will open people’s ears to some of the exciting traditional music thatis thriving in New England today,” said Maggie Holtzberg, curator for the Crossroads performance.
“I am delighted to participate in the Québec 400 Festival representing the traditional music/dance heritage of New Hampshire,” said Rodney Miller, a master fiddler based in Antrim, New Hampshire. “This heritage has played, and still plays, an important role in social community gatherings such as contradances for all ages.”
“I am very glad to be asked to participate in the Québec 400 program,” adds David Surrette, a guitar, mandolin and bouzouki player based in New Hampshire’s seacoast region. “I feel that my Franco-American heritage has played an important part in the development and expression of my music, both in learning the traditional repertoire and in creating new compositions that reflect these influences. I am very pleased to be sharing the stage with Rodney, as well as the other musicians, a number of whom I know and admire very much. It should be a great program, as well as a wicked good time.”
“It is a real honor for me to be a musical ambassador to represent the state of New Hampshire and its musical traditions,” said Gary Sredzienski, the “Accordion Warrior” from Greenland, NH. “New Hampshire is one of the finest states in the union to pursue the traditional arts. This state does so much to preserve andencourage the growth of its cultural traditions. When I performed at the Smithsonian folklife festival the workers even commented that New Hampshire was the best state they ever hosted!”
“The Québec Government Office is delighted to be working with the New England states to bring such a wonderful musical event to Québec City,” said Ms. France Dionne, Québec Delegate to New England. “Québecers have a long tradition of folk music, and many of our musicians are invited regularly to play in New England. The Crossroads festival is the perfect occasion to have our friends in New England share their great musical talent in turn with us as well.”
Crossroads is a collaborative project of state arts councils from New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and the New England Foundation for the Arts. Each organization and Québec provided funding for the artists to participate in the performance.
“We take pride in sponsoring the New Hampshire artists who will perform as part of Crossroads,” said Rebecca Lawrence, director of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. “They are all masters of the musical traditions they represent, from the tunes played for contradances in British colonial meeting houses to the dance music performed at kitchen soirees by Franco-American fiddlers and the polka tunes heard whenever Polish Americans gathered to celebrate. Beyond that, they are such versatile musicians that they will perform together in ways that showcase how cultural traditions can cross time and borders to express friendship and a shared delight in music making. It will be a memorable experience for everyone in the audience.”
New Hampshire’s Department of Cultural Resources includes the State Council on the Arts, the Film and Television Office, the Division of Historical Resources, the State Library and the American Canadian French Cultural Exchange Commission. The Department strives to nurture the cultural well-being of our state. From the covered bridges and traditional music of our past to the avant-garde performances and technological resources of today and tomorrow, New Hampshire’s culture is as varied as its geography and its people. This strong cultural base—which truly has something for everyone—attracts businesses looking for engaged workforces, provides outstanding educational opportunities and creates communities worth living in. Learn more at www.nh.gov/nhculture/.
NOTE TO EDITORS: To arrange an interview with any of the musicians performing in Crossroads, Commissioner McLeod or any of the others mentioned in this press release, please contact Shelly Angers, 603-271-3136,
[email protected]. Photos of and music samples by many of the performers are also available.