Squeezer's Green

Oh I don't want a harp nor a halo, not me
Just give me a breeze and a good rollin sea
And I'll play me auld squeezebox as we sail along
With the wind in the riggin to sing me this song

(chorus): Dress me up in me oilskins and jumper
No more on the docks I'll be seen
Just tell me old shipmates I'm takin a trip mates
I'll see you someday in Fiddler's Green


This page is a memorial to those attendees who brought life to the 25+ years of  the Squeeze-In.....but are no longer with us. 
They were so vividly alive, shining or glowing with the light of life; it's hard to believe that they are gone.


Rich Morse - 3/2/2009

Rich founded the Button Box, perhaps the premiere free-reed establishment on the East Coast. When it was a going concern, he dreamed up the Squeeze-In, which became his special baby: a weekend for all those crazed people hooked on accordions, concertinas and the like....and ran it with imagination and enthusiasm for 20 some years.  He was a guiding light for both....but so much more than a business man....he had such glee and run-go-see curiosity,  He was a man who wanted to share his enthusiasm in the magic he found in the world.  Here is part of his memorial on the Button Box website (the whole of it can be found here).

Rich Morse, founder and owner of The Button Box, was born in Hawaii as Gordon Richard Morse, III. He came to the mainland to study at the Rhode Island School of Design and made New England his home thereafter. In his years as a practicing architect, his designs were a marvel, consistently displaying an exceptional sense of spatial relations and creative problem-solving. He was a longtime advocate for energy efficiency, incorporating conservation-minded principles into his plans for clients and practicing them in his private life. Rich riding his aging bike the mile between his house and The Button Box was a familiar sight; regardless of the weather, he was rarely willing to make such an inefficient trip using fossil fuel.

Rich started The Button Box in 1980, while living in a cabin in rural Wardsboro, Vermont. It was a sideline in the beginning, but his passion for free-reed instruments overtook his interest in architecture, and he eventually became a full-time "employee" of The Button Box. His capability as an innovative designer and his unlimited capacity for optimism were largely responsible for the development of R. Morse & Co. concertinas, and his abiding interest in all to do with concertinas made him something of a celebrity in the admittedly small niche of free-reed aficianados. In that role, he was unstintingly generous with his time, knowledge, and positive spirit.

After Rich's passage,  the Squeeze-In....and running it with the consuming imagination, glee and creativity that Rich had put in it....wasn't something that Button Box could do, so it asked the people of the Squeeze-In to take over NESI.  Which we have done. 
Rest in peace, Rich; thanks for all you did for so many.....we carry it on...and pay it forward..  Photo: Kayti Sullivan at NESI 2007


Howie Leifer - 1/5/2014

Howie Howie was a man of immense kindess and gentleness. He was a real listener, too, a rare thing.  We miss him. On left, he is in 2010 (our last year at Bucksteep), singing his signature song,  The Wreck of the Nancy Lee , at a late night pub sing....with a raucuous....and even occasionally in tune....accompaninment.  Good fellowship all.  You'll smile. Thanks to Bob Beimers for digging out this wonderful, if a bit cacophonous, recording. More booze!  Who's singing the next song?

According to his brother Neil, his family started out on the lower East Side of Manhattan in the Vladek Housing Project and later moved to Queens. Howe had always been fascinated by the arts and found its expression in music and puppetry.  By the time Howie was in his '30's, he was in San Francisco, teaching art at the French American International School in Haight Ashbury; he was remembered there on 3/11/14 at a service; click on the poster there for an enlarged version and a great picture of Howie 20 years ago with his puppets.  Around 1999, his brother Neil, a famous photographer known for his many iconic images, asked him to come back East to manage his photo archive.  That was his work until he recently passed. 

On the right, is him playing and puppeteering simultaneously, Concert Night at Bucksteep!  We paid a lot of attention to the man behind the curtain...chin, hands and music were all Howie. 
In Tony's words, we are all hoping fondly for a heaven in which Howie can delight the angels with his droll humor and self effacing presence.


Bob McQuillen - 2/6/2014

On the left is Bob knocking out For Ireland, I'd Tell Not Her Name with Deanna Stiles at the Saturday Night concert in 2008 (photo: Bob Beimers, Whistle at the end, Doug Creighton).

How do you roundup the life of the grand old man of New England contra dance music?  Ex Marine, ex-high school shop teacher, eagle-eyed Bob Mc Quillen,who touched, listened and gave to everyone he met. Who came to folk festivals in an old bread van with an upright acoustic piano in the back (and a fold down bunk above it)....then opened the doors and began to play backup to any and all...'Whatcha got to play, sonny?'.  Bob memorably described playing music for contra dance "Like being paid to eat ice cream".

You can Google any number of tributes...here's one:
New  Hampshire Public Radio, "Remembering Bob McQuillen, An "Old-Fashioned Contra Dance Piano Player"
and any number of videos.

The National Endowment for the Arts: Bob McQuillen, pianist and accordion player, was born near Boston, but his family moved to southwestern New Hampshire when he was a child. Although his grandfather played accordion and his father played the piano, McQuillen did not turn seriously to music until he returned from service as a Marine during World War II. Some friends took him to a local dance, and he became interested in playing the accordion. He continued his day job teaching industrial arts at the local high school in Peterborough, New Hampshire, but also began playing accordion and piano for dances throughout the region, working with the legendary contra dance caller and historian, Ralph Page. In 1973, McQuillen wrote his first tune, Scotty O'Neil, named for a student who died tragically. Since then, he has written more than 1,100 dance tunes.

Attend.  See these souls. I hope to make them real in your mind as they are in mine;
for in the realm of matter, they live now only in memory.

(Free paraphrade of the words of Lois McMasters Bujold, from her Paladin of Souls)