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Hot strings coming to New Bedford

The next time I see Jeff Angeley, I expect he’ll be fully clothed. The first time we met, we were both bare-ass naked.

That next time will probably be on Saturday, Dec. 30, when Jeff is at Groundwork! hosting “Breaking Up Christmas: A 3 Hour Festival.”

That first time was this past Saturday when I was sitting in the YMCA sauna. As usual, I was talking up coworking with someone when from the upper level I heard, “Groundwork!? I’m going to be there on the 30th.”

“You’re the fiddle guy?” I replied.

“Jeff Angeley,” came the reply.

There’s not a lot of extemporaneous dialogue when you’re sitting around sweating with a bunch of naked guys in a YMCA sauna.

Fortunately, I knew the backstory. Jeff had come into Groundwork! awhile back with an idea. To use the coworking facility during it’s down time on the weekend for a special event.

And, it’s quite the event. In keeping with the Appalachian tradition of  “Breaking Up Christmas” it celebrates the time after Christmas and before New Year’s in “down-home fashion.” That means with music and dancing.

Breaking Up Christmas

Jeff is the “principal secular proselytizer” of Old Time Fiddle Session and Community Gathering, which happens the 4th Saturday of the month across the Acushnet River from New Bedford in Fairhaven. “Breaking Up Christmas” is a special edition of that gathering.

The afternoon will consist of the following: Barn dance for beginners with Old Time Dave Talmadge; Old Time jams hosted by Jeff Angeley, South County jammers, and the “Other Daubers”; Three hours of children’s activities facilitated by Children’s Art Lab; Contra dance (folk dance made up of long lines of couples) for beginner through advanced dancers hosted by The Wareham Contradance with caller Paul Wilde; Music performances by Old Time Dave Talmadge, the Mud Daubers; a traditional “Cake Walk” with live fiddle music and home made cakes for prizes; audience judged holiday cookie contest; ongoing photo booths and games area for people of all ages; a special vendor area featuring fiddle-inspired items; and even more.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite right from the Facebook event page (found here) or can be purchased in person at Hippo, 741 Purchase Street, downtown, NB.

So, if you’re looking for a way to unwind between the holidays, don’t sweat it. Jeff Angeley’s done that for you.

Old Time Fiddle Session and Community Gathering

The fiddle sessions in Fairhaven have been happening since February, 2017. They are held from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. They’ve been held at different venues, but since last spring have found a home at Brick in Fairhaven at 213 Huttleston Avenue  – the counterpart to the downtown New Bedford wood-fired, brick oven pizzeria at 163 Union Street. Jeff explains that, “ Brick Fairhaven has several long tables where strangers sit alongside one another and meet. It’s similar to the Irish/English pub session culture in that way.”

He further writes that the monthly jams are always free and open to the public. “String musicians familiar with the idiom or open to quietly learning along are welcome and encouraged to come join in. We have players under 10 and players over 80 sitting in the same circle cutting tunes and spreading joy together. We love to have both beginning and advanced players,” he adds.

“Kids sometimes hop into the middle of the jam circle and dance. The jam uses no PA system, and the tunes don’t demand 100% of audience attention, so the environment is ideal for a friendly meet up, families, etc.” he notes.

Occasionally – like on Saturday, Dec. 30 at Groundwork! –  the monthly jam will move to work around a holiday or pair with another event. You can follow any updates via their Facebook page (a full website should be coming soon).

Jeff concludes, “I always want it to be warm, inviting, and inclusive. Bring your freaky self, whoever you may be. We want to make music and community with you.”

Click this link to catch an Old Time Fiddle Session in action, filmed by Josh Souza of New Bedford Guide.

Steven Froias