First timer here, enjoyed it so much at NESI. Wonderful group of very talented people, made me feel right at home. Loved sitting on the couch by the fire listening to all the beautiful music evolving around me. Lovely surroundings, both inside and out. Cabin accomodations were a little chilly at night, but quiet and peaceful and although I didn't sleep long, I slept well, plenty of fresh air...not the usual hum and buzz of city traffic and airplanes flying overhead. Always greeted by smiles, and such an incredible variety of music.
Since I'm new to concertinas what is which surprised and enchanted me the most, is that you can play jazz, classical, bluegrass, rock and roll, practically everything on them, and it sounds wonderful. I loved especially the tune which was taught in the Quebecois gazebo, "La Maison de Glace" or the Ice house....very beautiful. In the beginning no one knew it except the workshop leader, Doug Creighton, but you could hear it all coming together, and by the end everyone was playing it beautifully...violins, concertinas, all in unison, and all within the space of about 20 minutes.
Also enjoyed the rousing chorus to the song "Strike, Strike the Bell" played on the banjo, when everyone joined in by the fireside and sang together. I'll never forget the Pheasant Plucker's Wife tale, very funny. The final performance of the "Squeeze-allujah Chorus" at the Saturday evening concer was spectacular, funny and incredibly beautiful. And I especially liked the Bulgarian piece selected and performed by Rachel Hall, I wish I had a recording of it.
Now I'm back working at the medical library in South Jersey, and all I have is wonderful warm memories of NESI 2008. I can still hear the distant sound of concertinas and accordions played so expertly. I want to come every year! Now I'm truly inspired to progress and learn classical guitar so I can join in and have something to offer too next year.
Thank you all!