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.
David Cornell - 5/23/2019
how to begin to speak of David? To say he was a kind, gracious,
generous gentleman, the possessor of a legendary hoard of rare
concertinas and a professional opera bass who mastered the (exceedingly
difficult) McCann Duet and brought the traditional Brit Music Hall
performance at an incomparable level to Bucksteep...that only begins to
remember him. Every year at Bucksteep the premiere event was David's
latest treasure, some pub or patter song, some witty wonder of double
entendre (some self-composed)....always a glittering Faberge Egg of raconteur
performance, music richly arranged and flawlessly performed,
accompanied with wicked (or deadpan earnest) faces and his rich full bass inviting you to
share in his delight and roll with laughter...
For all his excellence, he listened to all, was generously involved
with everyone and lent himself to last minute group efforts...and
remained encouraging even when the group's lesser musicians might have
foundered on the Saturday night stage.
Alas, he stopped coming to NESI after 2007; when the initial inroad of
Parkinson's made his music less than perfect, he bowed out at the top
of his game. Unfortunately, the recordings of that glorious voice and
his fingers dancing on the McCann are all but non-existant. Here he is performing Barker & Galipeau's Arnold the Armadillo. Some of his arrangements are online here. He is missed.
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.
Howie Leifer - 1/5/2014
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. Howie 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.
Rich Morse - 3/2/2009
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.
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
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 paraphrase of the words of Lois McMasters Bujold,
from her Paladin of Souls)