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Musical endeavor caught on camera

  • Sarah Kinney—



Monitor staff
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The entire album was recorded in just one day, by 16 musicians now living across the country playing together, some for the first time.

The Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra and its alumni came together on March 20, 2016, to play traditional New England dance music and produce Welcome Here Again.

Also there was filmmaker John Gfroerer, who produced a documentary on the extraordinary feat. The film, sharing a name with the album, will premiere at Red River Theatres on Sunday at 3:30 p.m., one day short of a year since the recording.

The session was held at the Middlesex School chapel in Concord, Mass., where the group recorded its first full album in 1972.

Group leader Dudley Laufman was moved by the natural acoustics of the building and the character it brought to the music.

“There’s a natural reverb and you don’t have to do anything,” Laufman says in the documentary.

Gfroerer got involved with making the documentary after overhearing how excited Laufman was for the session.

“It felt to me like something that needed to be documented,” Gfroerer said.

Gfroerer said the recording producer only used a few mics, instead of one for each instrument, in order to capture a more old-style of recording. He thought that spoke to the tradition of the band.

The documentary is broken up into “tracks” instead of chapters, Gfroerer said. It contains 11 tunes from the recording sessions, sometimes more than once.

“I love working with music,” Gfroerer said.

Interspersed are interviews with Laufman; his wife Jacqueline, who plays with the group; the recording producer and others involved.

The film was edited together in November and December. It was previewed for a small audience in January, who offered their critique. Then, more edits were made.

Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra has seen members come and go and return since Laufman paired up with New Tolman in the 1950s. The group finally gave itself a name in the 1960s after holding workshops at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island. The history of the group, its members and its musicianship will be celebrated nearly a year after the extraordinary recording session.

Tickets to the documentary premiere are $10 or $7 for members.

If you can’t make it to Red River Theatres on Sunday, copies of the DVD can be ordered for $17.95 and copies of the CD are $15.

For more information, visit laufman.org or redrivertheatres.org.