Post Archives: News

Albuquerque Megaband – New Practice Location and Time

The Albuquerque Megaband” is an open community band which provides an opportunity for musicians to get together and play acoustic string band music.  The objective is for participants to improve their musical skills while also building a repertoire of tunes such as those that are played for American folk dances.  Much of the music is based on traditional banjo and fiddle tunes but the repertoire includes tunes, old and new, representing styles from throughout the U.S., Canada and beyond.

The Megaband practices once a month and plays for dances every other month.  Musicians of all skill levels are invited to participate.  While much of the music is available as sheet music, the emphasis is on the aural tradition (i.e. playing by ear).  Participants are encouraged to bring suggestions for tunes they would like to learn to the practices.

Megaband practices are held on the second Saturday of each month from 2 to 4 p.m. at Apple Mountain Music, 10301 Comanche Rd. NE (  Though membership is encouraged, participants do not need to be members of FolkMADS.  There is no fee for participation however, donations will be accepted to cover expenses.  Questions regarding the Megaband may be sent to Bruce Thomson (

Second Saturdays (1/14, 2/11, 3/11, etc.)                 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.                     Fee: None

Richard Wilson’s book published, All Join Hands: Dances and Stories

FolkMADS members and community,

Richard Wilson‘s book is complete and available for purchase.  I’m very proud of what we’ve created.  Proceeds to benefit youth scholarships for NM FolkMADS.

All Join Hands: Dances and stories
by Richard Wilson, with Erik Barry Erhardt and Lauren Lamont, 2016.

Introduction to the first edition

This book is the fruit of an old idea, a long fallow period, and a final burst of enthusiastic commitment. The idea was to provide Richard with a meaningful focus and contribution during his last year of life. He wrote and wrote, filling notebooks; Lauren transcribed what she could. We photocopied all his cards that could be found in October 2010; Katherine provided an initial transcription. This book has taken many forms in its many revisions and reimaginings: experimenting with different paper sizes, interleaving the stories from other people in with his own story, modifying the dance formats, and finally returning to this fairly simple format. The long lull, after much compilation and redrafting, was partly due to my grieving after Richard passed; with Richard gone the urgency of the project had passed, since my primary commitment was to him. Then I allowed other projects to take over, including the trials of earning tenure as faculty at UNM. Finally, after almost six years, it is done.

While I may not have been able to realize the book I envisioned, this is it. I’m heartened by a thoughtful and generous community to whom I present this gift and tribute. Five years since Richard’s passing, I still feel his spirit and gentleness as I teach new dancers and callers, just as he taught me, feeling how each foot lifted is as important as how each is set upon.

Erik Barry Erhardt
Albuquerque, NM
October 2016

Grants & Scholarships supporting our mission

Did you know that FolkMADS provides both scholarships to support our members and grants to support sister organizations with congruent visions and missions?  Most of our outreach funds come from generous gifts at dance camps, direct donations, or small residuals.

We have a wonderful story this year about the ATC school in Santa Fe.

In addition to supporting the UNM Contra, providing scholarships to young musicians to attend FolkMADness, and sponsoring the AbqFolkFest, we have twice provided grants to the Academy for Technology & the Classics (ATC) college prep charter school in Santa Fe for music workshops.  In January I wrote about how the ATC String Band (nearly all students) led by Eric Carlson played for a packed Santa Fe dance with Katherine Bueler stepping in to call a dance at the last minute — what a success!

Eric Carlson is a local hero, bringing the living tradition of folk music to his students.  His report below describes the experience he was able to create [emphasis is mine].

Follow-up Report from ATC on the FolkMADS Scholarship Grant for the Fast Peso Stringband Concert & Workshop on 8/31/16

Dear FolkMADS,

Thank you for the generous grant to bring the Fast Peso Stringband to the Academy for Technology & Classics (ATC). On Wednesday morning, August 31, the group performed a forty-minute concert for the whole school of about 400 students followed by an hour-long workshop with about 34 of our “Acoustic Americana” music students. The full grant of $500 was paid to the band.

The concert was highly successful. Many students had never heard Old-Time music before, and the Fast Pesos delivered a very engaging concert including a diversity of Old-Time music and some historical context. Students generally seemed to enjoy it, and many clapped their hands. Thus, the concert succeeded in introducing about 400 students to a musical style and a piece of musical history that most were not aware of. This helps enormously in recruitment of future students to the “Acoustic Americana” class.

The workshop following the concert was more successful still. To just sit in a room with a stringband of this caliber and hear them play acoustically for the first time may have been a life-changing experience for some. The band talked to the students about repertoire, tunings, techniques, and their own musical histories. Kids asked questions about their instruments, how they met, and other things. Since we are currently studying Old-Time music in class, this experience provided a crucial model and example that can only be experienced live. Students came away much more excited about learning Old-Time music and with a much clearer idea of what it should sound like.

Thank you again FolkMADS for making this event possible.

Eric Carlson
Music Director, ATC

Thanks to all the FolkMADS members for their generous donations that help make these experiences possible!

Erik Erhardt, President

Why I Contra Dance

Local caller Merri Rudd posted this gushing appreciation of our dance community in our Facebook group. With her permission we are sharing her note.

SO proud of our folk community! At last night’s 2nd Sunday English/contra dance, a family of 2 adults and 4 kids showed up because Mom wanted her family to dance with her on mother’s day. The dancers didn’t miss a beat, asking them to dance, gently showing them a few moves, and making every single dancer look beautiful. The sprightly music didn’t hurt either! Mom told me, with a sense of wonder, “You all are so welcoming. Thanks for a very fun evening.” Thank you, Gary Papenhagen, Deb/Tom, Bob/Nancy, Bob/Linda, Kit/Mary, Meg, Erik, Emily, Lynn, Rodema, Tim, Jay, Wyn and all the others who made it a special, fun night and made my job as caller very fun too.

If you helped out and Merri forgot to include your name do know that you were very much appreciated!