Oskaloosa.com

June 26, 2013

Authentic American sounds heard at Nelson Farm

By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — The sounds of traditional American music echoed throughout Bradbury Hall at the Nelson Pioneer Farm and Museum this past Thursday.

A Barn Dance at Bradbury Hall was held, complete with a dance caller and musicians playing authentically American tunes.

Reid Miller, of Madison, Wisc., called the dances at this past Thursday's event. Miller said he's been into traditional American music since he was in grade school.

He moved to the upper Midwest in the 1970s and found these sounds in both Wisconsin and Iowa.

“I love to come to Iowa to call dances and dance,” said Miller.

Learning how to call dances is done by experience in many cases, according to Miller. He noted the importance of listening to experienced callers to learn the skill of calling dances.

“If you kind of listen to what they're doing and how they're doing it and then ask for pointers and kind of corrections when you're trying it out, that's generally the way dance calling is learned,” said Miller.

Something as simple as a smile is what keeps Miller calling dances in Iowa and other places.

“I enjoy seeing the smiles on the dancers' faces,” said Miller.

Marc and Brandi Janssen, of Iowa City, provided much of the music at this past Thursday's barn dance. They've played at least one previous barn dance at Nelson Farm and also played with a quartet called New Broom at Nelson Pioneer Farm and Museum's Fall Festival in the past.

“I like to play fiddle tunes and I could play fiddle tunes all night long,” said Marc. “It's kind of fun to see the rhythm of the fiddle and the rhythm of the music kind of lock in step with the dancers' feet.”

The kind of music being played at the Barn Dance at Bradbury Hall is alive and well. Brandi noted that there's a resurgence in “old time” music going on right now.

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Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com.