Contra dance at Callahan

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LEWISTON – Edward Howe will be the featured fiddler at an evening of contra dancing tonight at Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library.

Recognized as one of the top traditional dance band musicians in Maine, Howe will be backed up on guitar and foot percussion by John Cote in a repertoire of lively Irish, Scottish and French-Canadian jigs and reels. Howe is known for spicing up old-time tunes with heady doses of jazz on his pared-down but powerful electric fiddle. Joining Howe and Cote for a set or two will be up-and-coming local fiddlers Hannah Rodrigue and Matt Lamare, age 15.

Chrissy Fowler of Belfast will serve as caller, leading dancers through the moves. The event is designed to be beginner-friendly, with no prior dance experience required. It is not necessary to bring a partner to the dance because the custom is for everyone to mingle freely throughout the evening.

Funding for this event has been provided by Lewiston PAL (Police Athletic League), whose mission includes the promotion of American cultural traditions among youth in the community.

“As the indigenous ‘folk’ dance of New England, contra dancing and the music which fuels it are a vital part of the American arts heritage,” said Lewiston Public Library cultural coordinator Cindy Larock. She noted that last month, dozens of young people, from preteens to recent college graduates, attended the library’s debut summer contra dance along with adults ranging from veteran dancers to first-timers.

The event runs from 8 to 11 p.m. and carries an admission charge of $2 for students and $5 for others.

For more information, call the library at 784-0135, extension 200. The Lewiston Public Library is at 200 Lisbon St.

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