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Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist-2014

AllisonA(Animaterra) 04 Feb 14 - 06:30 PM
Jeri 04 Feb 14 - 06:45 PM
maeve 04 Feb 14 - 06:59 PM
maeve 04 Feb 14 - 07:01 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 04 Feb 14 - 07:47 PM
Desert Dancer 04 Feb 14 - 09:12 PM
Desert Dancer 04 Feb 14 - 09:15 PM
Desert Dancer 04 Feb 14 - 09:19 PM
maeve 05 Feb 14 - 06:44 AM
Elmore 05 Feb 14 - 11:03 AM
Desert Dancer 05 Feb 14 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,Bill C of Merrimack 05 Feb 14 - 01:45 PM
Bat Goddess 05 Feb 14 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,Pitheris 05 Feb 14 - 04:27 PM
GUEST 05 Feb 14 - 04:38 PM
Desert Dancer 05 Feb 14 - 04:42 PM
Desert Dancer 05 Feb 14 - 04:48 PM
Desert Dancer 05 Feb 14 - 04:57 PM
KT 06 Feb 14 - 03:45 AM
maeve 06 Feb 14 - 04:38 AM
Waddon Pete 06 Feb 14 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Judith Inman 06 Feb 14 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,Guest-Dianne 06 Feb 14 - 08:34 AM
Desert Dancer 06 Feb 14 - 11:44 AM
Desert Dancer 06 Feb 14 - 12:25 PM
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AllisonA(Animaterra) 06 Feb 14 - 07:34 PM
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Subject: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 04 Feb 14 - 06:30 PM

Where do I begin? Bob "Mac" McQuillen aka Mac the Quack, Mr. Mac, died this afternoon at the Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, NH, one day after suffering a massive stroke and heart attack. He was surrounded by friends and loved ones, who never left his side, and sang and played his beloved music the whole time.
Mac had "retired" from the weekly Nelson Monday night contra dances about a year ago, and in the past year gradually slowed down. He had a faithful band of friends who checked on him every day, and he didn't miss his daily coffee at the local bookstore cafe until just last week. He told all of his friends that he was ready, and not to use extraordinary means when it came time to let him go. He said, "You'll all be sad, but that's ok. I won't care, I'll be dead!"
He had a raucous sense of humor- who knows how many dance callers he interrupted:
"WAIT! Which side of the chicken are the feathers on? THE OUTSIDE!!"
...and other similarly brilliant examples.
He will likely be remembered for his hundreds of tunes- he published 15 books of his tunes, which he first wrote down in a solfeggi (do-re-mi) shorthand which he created for himself, then tried out on a mandolin to see if a fiddler could play the tune easily. He named most of his tunes after folks he knew- Alouette's Waltz, Byron's Jig, and Owen's Reel are just a few examples of tunes named for friends of mine. I was just on the outside of the circle and never got a tune (that I know of!). But the one he'll most likely be remembered for is Amelia.

He was 90. He lived a long, full life. He loved everyone, treated everyone with kindness. Go well, Mac.

Lots of remembrances going on in Facebook land: Remembering MAC


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Feb 14 - 06:45 PM

He always seemed to love life, and he was fearless. Every once in a long while, somebody dies and you can feel gravity shift. Mac was one of those. Condolences to the many who loved and will miss him.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: maeve
Date: 04 Feb 14 - 06:59 PM

Long expected yet such a shock- we didn't want to see this.   Years ago he was my husband's teacher, one of the few my husband respected and cared about. Years later, Mac was wonderful working with my students.

As my Truelove said, "And the world is changed..."


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: maeve
Date: 04 Feb 14 - 07:01 PM

I wish the FB recollections were available to those of us not part of it.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 04 Feb 14 - 07:47 PM

This just came out, maeve. Maybe there will be some good comments, to read, since you can't visit the FB page.

It's starting to hit me. Another good one gone.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 04 Feb 14 - 09:12 PM

The Facebook page should be visible to others on FB... but if you're not, the Monadnock paper would linked by Allison would be the place to look. (A more lengthy remembrance article is due on Thursday, they say.)

Many of the remembrances on the FB page are from students and community members that knew him, as well as the contra dance community. He was a high school shop teacher in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

He was honored with a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002. Their page has an interview and a couple sound files, here.

There are plenty of videos on YouTube for anyone who is not familiar with Bob. Also, here is a wonderful profile (not YouTube) by Susanna Bolle Bob McQuillen.

I'm so happy that I was able to overlap with him at a few dance weekends and festivals, as well as feeling the many ripples he made in the pool.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 04 Feb 14 - 09:15 PM

Here is a lovely profile written by contra caller and historian David Millstone, on the occasion of Bob's being honored by CDSS with a Lifetime Contributor award. (pdf file).

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 04 Feb 14 - 09:19 PM

And from the CDSS document, Dudley Laufman's poem:

McQuillen

This accordion player is a laughing fellow
with steel gray hair, bribing the bellows.

He coaxes & listens to the Irish in it,
falls of water, hills of granite,

weather brown barns, evergreen tree.
He roars with laughter & slaps his knee,

His music blends with the fiddle man,
the caller, the piano, the summer dancers

with taps on their shoes, fresh from the farms,
the woolen mills.

         He tattooed his arms.

Looks like he's taking a nap on his box,
but what he is doing is coaxing talk,

getting it going like a spinning top,
you can hear it out in the parking lot.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: maeve
Date: 05 Feb 14 - 06:44 AM

Thank you. We knew him well, but have been out of touch since the fire.

If you see a FB comment from a former student from Hillsboro- name of Justin- please send me a PM. He was my student when I brought Bob to our school for a taught contra dance, and I'd like to make contact. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: Elmore
Date: 05 Feb 14 - 11:03 AM

Bob was an important part of the Fox Hollow Folk Festival. I loved his tunes, and am sorry to hear of his passing.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 05 Feb 14 - 01:36 PM

I'll keep an eye out, Maeve. If you have a friend with FB, it is an amazing collection of remembrances -- as you might expect.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: GUEST,Bill C of Merrimack
Date: 05 Feb 14 - 01:45 PM

I met Bob at the 2013 RPDLW; took his class and had the honor of playing on stage with him. What a long, full and productive life! Mac, you've gone home --- and still making music for the dance!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 05 Feb 14 - 02:14 PM

Bob was just so much fun to be around. My strongest memory? Walking past his battered blue van to the sound of the piano. I peeked inside and there was Bob at his upright piano against the front wall of the van, exuberantly playing facing away from anyone wandering past the open back of the truck.

After lunch one day at Indian Neck, banjo player Bob Frost asked if I'd give him a neck and shoulder rub to ease some stiff muscles. I obliged, Bob sitting astride a backwards turned chair. When his neck muscles felt better, he up and left...and Bob McQuillan slid onto the chair for his turn.

As I've said before, none of us are getting out of this world alive and the best we can hope for is a good death. It sounds as if Mac had a really good death -- as Tom (Curmudgeon) did not that long ago...surrounded by loving friends and music.

He'll be very much missed.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: GUEST,Pitheris
Date: 05 Feb 14 - 04:27 PM

He had a heart of gold. He taught and encouraged dozens and dozens of young folk to play music.

He wrote over 1,000 tunes. Abunch of these are popular throught the world.


https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=bob+mcquillen&sm=1

I'm gonna miss Quack.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Feb 14 - 04:38 PM

Here's something I posted on Facebook today:
The last time I saw Mac was on Boxing Day, at a private local dance party. My husband Hunt Smith and I were privileged to play with Dudley and Jacqueline Laufman and Walt Walter D. Sweet and others. We got there with time to spare, and the hosts started rounding up the youngest guests and their families and preparing for a few before-dinner family dances. But where was Mac? Late, or not coming, we weren't sure. Dudley asked me to start playing the piano, so the first dance could begin, and so I did. Well into the dance, I heard Jacqueline say, "Here's Mac!" He slowly made his way through the crowd, greeting and being greeted, and when he got to the piano, I kept on with the bass "Boom" and without missing a beat, he picked up on the "chuck". I slowly stood up, still "Boom"-ing, and again, without missing a beat, he sat down and took up the rhythm in both hands. Needless to say, the quality of the piano playing rose sky-high and the evening continued and concluded as only a Mac-accompanied dance could! But what a privilege to hold his spot till he got there!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 05 Feb 14 - 04:42 PM

A musical titan with his own beat

By Dave Anderson
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 (actually, this version will officially be published tomorrow, Feb. 6, according to the FB post I got the link from)

Bob McQuillen, a legend in New England contra dance circles known for his rhythmic "Boom-Chuck" piano playing, his corny jokes and his infectious enthusiasm for life, died on Tuesday, surrounded by friends, at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester.

McQuillen, 90, had been hospitalized after suffering a stroke on Sunday.

McQuillen was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, in 2002, recognizing him for "having a central position in the New England traditional dance music scene for more than fifty years." He composed more than 1,300 dance tunes, most of which he named after his many friends both old and new.

McQuillen also taught industrial arts for many years at Peterborough High School and later at ConVal High School, where he was known as "Mr. Mac."

"He did more for kids in Peterborough than any other teacher," said Butch Walker, a former student of McQuillen's who became a good friend. "He wouldn't let you get away with anything and would always let you know if you did wrong. He was well loved by all."

McQuillen died Tuesday afternoon, after two days in the hospital. During the day, many friends at his bedside played music, and McQuillen, who was unconscious, seemed to respond, according to his friend Don Primrose, a dance caller from Sullivan.

"Bob just brings people together," said Primrose during the vigil earlier in the day Tuesday. "There have been a series of people coming through. He's resting comfortably and he seems responsive to music. He's going exactly as he wanted."

A life of music

McQuillen was fresh out of the Marines after World War II, living on a farm in New Boston, when he started attending contra dances in Peterborough and Francestown. He met his future wife, Priscilla Scribner, at one of the dances. He also latched on as an accordion player with the Ralph Page Orchestra, one of the leading contra dance bands.

"I'm a lousy accordion player as they go, but we had two fiddle players playing melody, so all I really had to do was play texture and accompaniment." McQuillen told a Concord Monitor reporter in 1999.

Influenced by Johnny Trombley, the piano player in Page's band, McQuillen eventually switched to piano, and after serving in the Korean War, he became a mainstay in bands led by Page, Duke Miller and Dudley Laufman during the 1960s and 70s.

And he never stopped playing, working with various smaller bands and callers and pounding the keyboard nearly every Monday night at the weekly dance in Nelson.

"With Bob, you always knew where the beat was. He called it Boom Chuck piano" said David Millstone of Lebanon, who made a documentary film about McQuillen. "He'd say, "It's something the dancers can hook their feet to. I'm an old-time dance piano player. I cannot play melody. I can play the chords.'"

McQuillen told Millstone that playing contra dances was like being "paid to eat ice cream," a phrase Millstone used as the title for his film.

"He just loved the whole contra dance scene," Millstone said. "At any event where Bob was present, you knew he'd just grab a microphone and talk. He was a living link to our heritage for today's contra dancers."

McQuillen was a mentor and inspiration to many in the contra dance community.

"I'm a caller because of Bob," Primrose said. "One night a caller didn't show, and he said 'Don, you know what to do, why don't you get out there and call.' He created a Johnny Tremblay memorial fund to help young people get started with the music and it's been really exciting to play with those students."

Contra dance caller Mary DesRosiers of Harrisville said her son, Conor Slieth, was one of McQuillen's first students.

"I think Bob's lasting contribution will be teaching," said DesRosiers, who frequently called dances where McQuillen played. "It was obvious the deep love he had for the music. And people always wanted to be around him. They saw how much fun he had. "

DesRosiers said McQuillen was a huge presence in the contra dance community.

"It kind of feels like we'll be getting up in the morning and Mount Monadnock is not there," she said.

Dave Eisenstadter, a journalist and contra dance caller from Somerville, Mass., said McQuillen was a wonderful, but unique, piano teacher. Eisenstadter took lessons at McQuillen's home on Granite Street in Peterborough, known as the Mac Shack.

"Every inch of the house was packed, with a lifetime collection of music and instruments," Eisenstadter said. "He'd sit beside the piano on a stool with an accordion. He'd tell a joke or two, field a couple of phone calls. Then he'd start to play a tune. My job was to fill in the chords. When we were done, he'd always tell me the name of the tune. They were all named after people he'd known."

Eisenstadter said McQuillen's style of piano playing is not as common as it used to be.

"But everything that's going on now is based on it," he said. "Mac was like everybody's grandfather. He had the mind of a mischievous youth. That attracted younger people."

McQuillen's contra dance friends all recalled his penchant for introducing a tune by telling a joke. One of his favorites: "Which side of the chicken has the most feathers?" ... long pause ... "The outside!"

An inspiring teacher

Much as he influenced young musicians, McQuillen also served as a mentor for many students during his years as a teacher.

McQuillen, who was born in Cambridge, Mass., in 1923, grew up in the Boston area before moving to New Boston with his mother as a youngster. He attended the Nobles and Greenough prep school and even spent a semester at Harvard University, according to his friend Sarah Bauhan of Hancock.

"He downplayed that background," Bauhan said. "Harvard didn't work out well for him."

But after serving in the Korean War, McQuillen gave school another try.

"When he came back, he went to what he always called Keene Teacher's College," Bauhan said.

McQuillen, who had moved with his family to Dublin, was hired to teach industrial arts at Peterborough High School after graduating from Keene State. He founded a weightlifting group at the school and quickly became one of the most popular teachers.

"He had such a positive attitude," said Walker, his former student. "He never missed our games. He encouraged us all, both honor students and kids like me who'd screwed up."

Walker said McQuillen was the one person who kept him in school.

"He was the guy who sat me down and said "You're staying here,'" Walker recalled. "By senior year, I'd made the honor roll. He hunted me down and just hugged me. Now he's been my best friend for 60 years."

Jill Lawler of Peterborough got to know McQuillen when she started teaching at Peterborough High School in the late 1960s.

"He was a bigger-than-life personality, this ex-Marine with tattoos before they were fashionable," Lawler said. "He had this trademark yell to get people's attention in the cafeteria or the hall. He was the only person I've ever seen who could quiet a gym before a basketball game and talk about sportsmanship. And the kids would listen to him."

McQuillen was incredibly thoughtful, Lawler said.

"After I had my first baby, he drove to my house with a beautiful candle on my first Mother's Day," she recalled.

Bob Marshall of Greenfield, a former teacher at ConVal, said his favorite memory is doing cafeteria duty with McQuillen.

"I can still see Mac in that uniform he used to wear, with his little cap and his red bandanna hanging out of his pocket. He looked like one of the kids. And once in a while you'd hear that booming voice calling for quiet. The kids really connected with Mac."

McQuillen was also a school bus driver in Peterborough.

"He used to speed up when he hit the bump on Main Street," said Marilyn Weir of Peterborough, who often rode on his bus. "He knew the kids would love to fly off their seats. He'd be laughing, looking at us in the rear view mirror."

Life lessons

After he retired from teaching, McQuillen was a regular sight in downtown Peterborough, where he would show up for coffee every morning at Aesop's Tables.

"This would always be his first stop," said Aesop's owner Allison Fredericks. "He'd sit in his favorite chair and he'd talk to everyone. All his students remember him as 'Mr. Mac' and they'd all say hello. He always had a joke for the kids and he'd talk to everyone. If people didn't already know him, they certainly did when he left. He was a very dear man."

McQuillen's son, Dan McQuillen, said on Wednesday that his father had been a teacher throughout his life.

"He affected so many people in positive ways," Dan said. "He taught a lot of people about music and shop, but also life lessons — treat people with respect, the way you want to be treated."

McQuillen had a real connection to Dublin, where he served as police chief for a number of years before his wife died in 1985 and he moved to Peterborough.

"We had a big house at Bond's Corner, with lots of backyard," Dan said. "We had a big archery range out back. My dad loved camping and guns and he had a completely warped sense of humor. And he taught us to work hard."

McQuillen's daughter, Rebecca McQuillen, said her father's death had been expected, but the loss is still hard.

"Toward the end I realized I always looked at him like Superman," Rebecca said. "He was the funniest person I ever met. He was an imp. There was always some mischief behind that smile."

McQuillen is survived by his son Dan, who lives in Houston, and his daughter Rebecca McQuillen, who lives in Florida, as well as five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Another son, William, died in 2003.

Memorial arrangements are incomplete.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 05 Feb 14 - 04:48 PM

Legendary musician Bob McQuillen of Peterborough dies

By Ella Nilsen Sentinel Staff
Posted: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 12:00 pm | Updated: 1:34 pm, Wed Feb 5, 2014.
Keene Sentinel (SentinelSource.com)

PETERBOROUGH — As he lay in a hospital bed for three days, the calls for Bob McQuillen came in from across the country. There were calls from former students and musicians who knew McQuillen as a mentor, teacher and musician. Above all, they knew him as a friend.
McQuillen, a former police chief, teacher and legendary musician, was surrounded by dozens of friends and visitors in his room at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester. At age 90, he had suffered a massive stroke while eating dinner at Brady's Restaurant in Peterborough Sunday night.

He was active up to the last moment, having driven himself to Brady's in his truck that night.

McQuillen was at Catholic Medical Center from Sunday afternoon until he passed away Tuesday at about 3:40 p.m. His former wife, Priscilla Jean

McQuillen, died on the same day 29 years ago, according to his close friend Donald R. Primrose.

McQuillen is survived by two of his three children, Daniel and Becky, as well as countless friends. A third child, Bill, passed away a few years ago, according to Primrose.

In the hospital room, it was difficult to tell if he was aware, according to friends. But there were some glimmers of recognition, glimmers that came most often when someone played music for him.

In addition to the friends who sat by his bedside, McQuillen received phone calls from those who couldn't be with him. According to Primrose, one of the many calls he received was from a woman on a mountaintop in Montana, who played a waltz she wrote for McQuillen on her banjo.

Another woman called from Juneau, Alaska, to thank McQuillen for writing a tune for her, Primrose said.

When the news of McQuillen's death broke, a Facebook group page made to remember him was full of people sharing memories of a man more commonly known as "Mac" or "Mr. Mac."

Whether they knew him as a teacher, mentor or musician, all had a story to share.

"When you met Bob, he made you feel like you were the most important person," said Steve Zakon-Anderson, a contra dance caller at the Peterborough Town House and a good friend of McQuillen.

"He just had that warmth for people, that's what a lot of people remember from the first time you met him," Zakon-Anderson added. "That heart he had was open to everybody."

McQuillen was born in Newtonville, Mass., and his family moved to this area when he was a child. He attended Keene State College after a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1943 to 1946.

He served overseas during World War II, and came back to the Monadnock Region after a tour of the South Pacific. He served in the Marines again in 1951, serving in Korea and in the U.S.

After returning to the region, he soon became a regular at local contra dances, often going to Ralph Page's Saturday night square dances in Peterborough.

McQuillen even met his wife, Priscilla Ann, at the Peterborough hall. Zakon-Anderson said that years later, McQuillen would point out the exact place in the hall where he first met "Prissie."

McQuillen learned to play the accordion and eventually, the piano. He soon became an ever-present figure playing in the band at contra dances, easily recognizable by many people who attended the dances.

At the same time, McQuillen began teaching industrial arts, including machine shop and woodworking, first at Peterborough High School, continuing when the school became Conval Regional High School.

Many students respected him for his ease to command authority, according to former school officials. His experience as a former Marine came in handy when it came to keeping unruly high school kids quiet.

"He had an exceptional rapport with students and their respect as a teacher," said former Conval principal Byron Niederhelman. "They identified with Bob because he was very outgoing and direct."

Former Conval school officials remembered McQuillan having an uncanny knack for one thing in particular: keeping the kids in the cafeteria quiet.

Niederhelman said he remembered McQuillen's famous cry of "Heeeeeyah!" to quiet students down.

In an email, former Conval English teacher Michael O'Leary remembered the time he once escorted an official around the building who was evaluating the school for its recertification. At one point, O'Leary showed the official the school cafeteria, which was also being used as a study hall.

"There were probably 50 or 60 students there, but no teacher," he recalled. "Wondering why they were all so quiet, he asked me the cause. Before I could answer, a rather tough-looking student said, 'Sshh, don't wake up Mr. Mac!' He then pointed to where Mac was sleeping on a bench. The evaluator looked at Mac and then around the cafeteria. He then marked 'very effective' on his sheet."

Former Conval teacher Jill T. Lawler said McQuillen was a constant presence at high school events such as plays, concerts and sporting events.

"He would also stand up at athletic events," Lawler said. "He was very patriotic and would lead the Pledge of Allegiance and make a little speech about sportsmanship before the game would start, because Conval fans are notoriously rowdy."

Lawler was the school's yearbook adviser for years and said she couldn't count how many classes dedicated their yearbooks to Mr. Mac.

Throughout the years, McQuillen was well known for his accordion and piano playing at contra dances, as well as a piano teacher for students across the area.

"The contra dance community is a pretty tight community, very supportive," said Primrose. "He held it together a long time."

In 1973, McQuillen wrote his first tune in honor of Scotty O'Neil, a former student who died tragically. From 1973 up until he passed away, McQuillen wrote and published about 1,500 tunes, according to Primrose.

Every song was named for a person or thing important to McQuillen.

"There's a story behind every single one of them," said Primrose.

In 2002, McQuillen was honored with a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. But McQuillen always shrugged off praise, said Zakon-Anderson, instead choosing to honor the people he played with.

"It's hard to fathom that we don't have him anymore," Zakon-Anderson said. "We have 1,200 tunes and six gazillion memories."

"He was absolutely one of a kind," he added. "There will never be another Mr. Mac."


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 05 Feb 14 - 04:57 PM

Here is the story (long version!) of the tune "Amelia" as told by Bob McQuillen at the Dance in the Desert 2012. I'm so happy to have been sitting in that room.

(I've set the video to start 5:36m in, but there's more worth hearing before that, too!)

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: KT
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 03:45 AM

Thank you, Becky, for sharing this video clip. What a treasure!

KT


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: maeve
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 04:38 AM

Here's Bob- back in 1974 in a video about the wonderful Sarah Bauhan. I love this film and admire both musicians.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVXwxofcets


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 06:10 AM

I have added Bob to the "In Memoriam" thread. Thanks for that video Maeve. All the clips on the thread have their light to shine on a well loved performer. RIP.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: GUEST,Judith Inman
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 08:19 AM

Thanks for all of this
I have been to Folk life NorthWest every 2 years . Bob was brought over every year to join the otherwise all local callers and musicians for the contra dancing. 2013 we celebrated with him and family his 90th ,immediately after he had finished playing for 45 minutes for the dancing! A privilege and a joy to dance to the master . And I shall be using as many of his CDs as possible on Friday when calling at our local club . He will live on.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: GUEST,Guest-Dianne
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 08:34 AM

Oh dear! Another one gone.
I danced many times to the Boom-chuck of Mac's piano though that was years ago and I haven't seen him in some time.
Memory-Mac dismantling and "fixing" an old accordion someone had brought to a dance, all during a break.
He was and will remain a legend here among the NH dancers and musicians in New England.
My condolences to his family and close friends.
Dianne


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 11:44 AM

The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript is collecting additional remembrances. Here's a link to search results for "Bob McQuillen". (This gets some old results, too, but misses a few where the entry is "Bob 'Mac' McQuillen".

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 12:25 PM

Contra music icon Bob McQuillen dies at 90

By Meghan Pierce
(Manchester) New Hampshire Union Leader (NewHampshire.com)
February 05. 2014 9:34PM

PETERBOROUGH — Contra music icon Bob McQuillen died Tuesday at the age of 90, leaving behind a legacy of music and friendships.

McQuillen suffered a massive stroke Sunday night when he was at Brady's Grill in Peterborough for dinner. He was taken to nearby Monadnock Community Hospital first and was then transferred to Catholic Medical Center in Manchester where he passed away Tuesday afternoon, longtime friend and contra dance caller Donald Primrose of Sullivan said Wednesday.

His wife, Priscilla Jean McQuillen died on the same day 29 years ago, Primrose said. The couple had three children and many more people who consider themselves part of Bob's family, Primrose said.

The legendary musician and songwriter was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002. It is the highest award for traditional and folk arts in the U.S. and was the first time an artist from the contra world received the honor.

"He was the old-timer on the scene when I started getting involved with contra dance stuff back in the 1970s," said contra musician Gordon Peery of Nelson on Wednesday. "For me he was really one of the most important people for many, many years, and part of that was when you were around him you felt you were a better person. …I am sure there are hundreds s of people who would say he was a very important person in their lives."

McQuillen was a larger than life person with an infectious love of life and a bag full of corny jokes, said contra dance caller and Marlow native Dave Eisenstadter of Somerville, Mass., who remembers McQuillen at the first contra dance he attended as a Keene State College student in 2002.

"I think that that is why he has been an icon in the contra dance community was this amazing positive attitude," Eisenstadter said.

McQuillen had also served as a Marine in World War II and the police chief of Dublin more than 30 years ago. Aside from his large role in the contra music scene in the Monadnock region and larger folk music scene across the country, McQuillen is also remembered for his decades as a teacher at Peterborough High School, now known as ConVal High School. He taught shop and electricity and was a wrestling coach.

"He was always a cheerleader for the school," Primrose said.

McQuillen was a prolific songwriter, writing about 1,500 tunes. He wrote his first tune in 1973 in honor of Scotty O'Neil, a former student who died tragically.

His songs were always named after people and events in his life, his friends said.

Monday night the weekly contra dance in Nelson was somber, said Peery.

McQuillen had played the Nelson Monday night contra dance for decades up until a year ago, Primrose said. He was able to attend and play at the Christmas dance in December, he said.

"Everybody felt moved and sad in our own way," Peery said of the musicians and dancers Monday night. "Also just realizing what an important person he was in our individual lives."

But everyone knew McQuillen would want the music and dancing to continue.

The band ended the night with McQuillen's waltz "Amelia."

The next day, Peery learned the waltz was also being played in McQuillen's honor at tributes for him across the country.

McQuillen passed surrounded by friends who gathered around him singing and holding hands in a circle with him, Primrose said.

Throughout the two-day vigil, hundreds of musicians either visited or called the hospital to tell McQuillen stories or play him music, Primrose said. McQuillen could not open his eyes or speak, but the playing of music drew a reaction from him, he said.

"I don't think there was a better man I've ever known in my life. He was loved by many and he was loved by me very much," Primrose said.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist-2014
From: elfcape
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 04:16 PM

More than 2100 people are celebrating Mac' s wily life over there on FB.    It's a new type of wake going on - a modern, electronic wake, far more inclusive than the old style. If you're on FB I think you'll be amazed and enjoy being part of it.

Mac was a rare one.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist-2014
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 07:34 PM

Oops- that GUEST yesterday at 4:38 was me. Everyone here in the Monadnock region of NH is still talking about Mac today. The Monday night contra dance is going to honor him somehow- 13 or so years ago he and Don Primrose, caller, made a pact to show up on Monday night no matter what so there could be a dance. They both kept that pact until Bob retired last year; Don has faithfully kept up his end of the pact until this past Monday night, when he didn't leave Bob's side in the hospital.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist-2014
From: KT
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 01:01 AM

He's still very much with us here, too, Allison. We had a gathering in my home on Monday night to play his tunes during his last hours. Played a few more on Tuesday, and again last night with a different group.

It's been cold and clear here these last few nights, and the dark sky has been dotted with thousands of stars. After everyone's gone home and all the town is quiet, and tucked in for the night, I could almost swear I've heard "Amelia" and "Scotty O'Neil", dancing on the wind.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist-2014
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 08:02 PM

Videos comprising the full hour discussion session with Bob at Dance in the Desert 2012 have been put up by the videographer who I only know by his online handle: Dance Ranger. They don't come up with YouTube searches yet, and for some reason also don't show up if you look at Dance Ranger's YouTube page. So here are the links.

Bob McQuillen Q&A DITD 2012 1A
Bob McQuillen Q&A DITD 2012 1B
Bob McQuillen Q&A DITD 2012 1C
Bob McQuillen Q&A DITD 2012 1D
Bob McQuillen Q&A DITD 2012 1E

Here's the Marines & Amelia clip that I posted above.

As well as discussing contra dance history, Bob described his method of notating his tunes.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bob McQuillen, NH contra dance pianist-2014
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 17 Feb 14 - 06:49 PM

Bob McQuillen, 90; helped revitalize contra dancing - obituary in the Boston Globe.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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