A Scottish Fez?

The Shriner fez

The Shriner fez

On May 1, the Bektash Shriners of NH kicked off their Spring Ceremonial with a welcome reception at the Holiday Inn in Portsmouth, and òran mór was honored to play for them.

But why, you may ask, would the Shriners invite a group of Celtic musicians to play for their Spring Ceremonial?

Our friend Dick Boyd: a Shriner and Scot extraordinaire

Dick at the Highland Games

It turns out that there is a strong connection between Scottish Free Masonry and the Shriners. Our friends Dick Boyd and Sherry Thompson, members of the Bektash Shrine, were organizing the reception. But Dick and Sherry are also very active in the St. Andrews Society, so they thought the evening would be a great opportunity to introduce ‘All Things Scottish’ to those Shriners who were not familiar with the connection. They invited us to play and we were delighted to introduce the members to our favorite pieces of Scottish music.

Sherry promises some photos from the night are on their way, and we’ll post them soon.

If we get invited back, I’m going to get a plaid fez to wear.

Steve Carrigan makes guitar debut

It was a  Thursday night with a fine start – as Mike Jeanneau had finished up some work at Hideaway Studios and sauntered in for some tunes.Mike in Studio

That's the WRONG note???

But not long after Mike had headed home, to avoid bringing ‘There’s Sure to Be a Row’ from song to reality, Steve Carrigan happened in.  He joined us a few songs – and then gave us a first – himself on guitar.

Steve”s obviously been holding out on us, being  pretty comfy and adept at his chords and accompaniment.  That gave us a nice finale to the night – and a nice scoop.

Many thanks  Steve.Steve's Guitar DebutBob Dunleavy

Bob sighted (again) at The Barley House

Barley HouseIt was a damp and drizzly Tuesday eve  – a soft night that was Irish enough to suggest it could be fun to swing by the Barley House in Concord.  Our cohort Bob Dunleavy is a regular there, but I rarely get the chance to make a visit.

Bob and Mark dig into a reel

I was happy to see another sometimes-visitor R.P. Hale (no relation, that I know, to our Pete Hale) was there with one his own customer hammered dulcimers.

R.P. Hale on his special instrument

Paddy Keenan happened to drop in to listen and chat. As I’d noticed him sporting a nice camera the last few times I’d seen him, I enjoyed talking with him a bit about the picture-taking opportunities that become a part of his musical travels.

Greg Heppe stayed later than me – no worries about getting the store opened on time in the morning.

Greg HeppeAll in all it was a great night, with good fun all the way ’round.

Press Room on May Day

Because we had a gig later that night, we all did something that’s become a rarity   – Pete, Bob, and I all made it to the Press Room on the same night.  Being May 1st, there were many a May Day song and tale of spring and springtime fancy.

After a cautious start, Peter Hale  declared the session ‘swine flu free’

Pete plays it safeThere could be swine, and there could be flu -- but no swine flu

Before heading across town to our Shriners Dinner gig, we enjoyed some songs and tunes.

Alan EatonChris Vaughan

Tom Hall


Mike, Bill, and Greg drop by….

Last night in April — we were lucky enough to have a few good friends drop for some tunes and songs.  Mike Jeanneau, of Boghat fame, was first,   traveling light with just a fiddle and banjo, but he lit things up as he’s known to do.

Then Greg Heppe,  who runs the General Store and great concerts at the Old White Church in Tuftonboro, NH, stopped in with flutes and whistles in hand.

And then — Mr. Bill Zecker arrived with bouzouki in hand — to help us sail through the rest of the night.

A good time was had by all.  I’ll post some sound clips ASAP.


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