National Heritage Award recipient Bob McQuillen passed away this past February at the age of 90.He made a significant impact on the Fiddle Tunes community, having first been on staff 30 years ago. He was one of the most beloved New England contra dance musicians.
To celebrate Bob’s legacy of music, we’ve invited Laurie Andres, Cathie Whitesides, and WB Reid – members with Bob in the band “The Rhythm Rollers” – to be on faculty at Fiddle Tunes in 2014. They’ll pay tribute to “Mac” and his music by teaching and playing some of the 1500 tunes he has composed.
Mac played to the delight of countless dancers continuously for more than 60 years since his start in 1947 with the “Ralph Page Orchestra.”Cathie, Laurie and WB were all first captivated by Bob’s playing on the seminal recordings of the “Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra” in the 1970s.
Laurie Andres began with classical piano and started playing for dances in his hometown of Baltimore with Steve Hickman. He met Cathie in 1980 and they began playing for dances and camps all over the US. Cathie Whitesides performed Irish music for several years with Kevin Keegan and Joe Cooley and became a much sought-after dance fiddler in the San Francisco Bay Area. WB Reid started playing for contra dances in the 1970s in the San Diego band then led by John Tuohy which had been founded by Fred Bruenig. He first played with Cathie in 1975 and joined the Rhythm Rollers later after moving to Seattle.
Donations in memory of Mr. McQuillen can be made online, in support of The Bob McQuillen Fiddle Tunes Scholarship Fund.