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Welcome to the Fifer's Delight Band

Our repertoire of contradance music is born in New England, détours via Quebec and ricochets off fife-and-drum just for special effect. What makes the tune 'pop' is furious precision, not crazy speed. Eclectic, traditional tunes with plenty of punch; good bass, midrange and treble to keep the toes tapping. We always vary the intensity, lead musician and key signature to keep the sound fresh on the jigs and reels, from the singing squares to the last waltz. Fifer's Delight has seasoned musicians who integrate well with an energetic caller to make the event come alive.

News and Events
2017
Nov 3 We will be performing at the Quiet Corner Contra Dance in Coventry, CT with caller Rich Sbardella.
Stay tuned for more dates to come!
About Us
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What's in Store/ What we have to offer

For years, we have put the zip into the dancing with classic tunes and lively expression. We have played for regular dance series, one-time events and special occasions. We'd love to do your dance; we can work with your caller or supply one of our own. Just drop us a line or give us a call. "Like us on Facebook"


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History

For decades, the Fifer's Delight Band has delighted scores of square and contra dancers. Founded by the legendary dance caller and musician Ralph Sweet, the baton was recently passed to Ralph's son Walt to carry on its musical traditions and style. The newly reorganized band marked their debut at Ralph Sweet's 88th Birthday Bash held at the Powder Mill Barn in May, 2017.

Member Bios
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Walt Sweet

Walt plays mostly the SuperFlute, his own invention of a Boehmflute in F above C; its compass matches-up with the fiddle for a solid projection without being shrill. Playing in any key, with tonal flexibility, with a judicious mix of bite and legato, adds life to all the music. The HiD fife (like pennywhistle) gives sparkle while the basset recorder (F below C) holds the bottom on the concert pieces. For a surprise ending, he worked with the band to blend lyrical marches on the Bb drumcorps fife with SuperFlute underneath and a synthesized calliope woofing-out the bass. Walt grew-up in drumcorps, playing flute/picc in high school, graduating to contras in the original Fifer's Delight band, started by Ralph in 1974. "Walt's Flute Website"


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John Kalinowski

John comes from a family tradition of ethnic music. He learned to play accordion at an early age while listening to radio performances of his father's polka band. He is also a member of the celtic and contra band Wild Notes. Like Walt, John has been involved with Fife and Drum Corps since he was eight. This great influence of American jigs and reels plus his polka backgroud leads to an unique style of playing. Listen for the polka bellow shake during a contra set! After 42 years of Electrical Engineering and Software Development at CT's Pratt & Whitney, he now enjoys retirement.


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Matt Garland

Matt got into the traditional music scene in 2010 when he started attending contra dances in Nelson New Hampshire. Starting out attending the slow jam held before the dance, he met a group of musicians who were interested in starting a band. Soon after, the 5 piece band, Trip To Nelson was formed. Trip To Nelson played contra dances, festivals and concerts across New England from 2010 to 2013, as well as releasing the album "The Winding Road" in 2012. Matt has also played with Hunt and Allison Smith for family contra dances and educational programs on traditional dance, as well as well as helping start a weekly jam at their house from 2011 until 2017.



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Chris Hebert

Chris Hebert started playing piano and keyboard in the 1980's for contra dances in the Hartford CT area, including with Ralph Sweet and his band, "The Fifer's Delight". Chris is currently a retired accountant, and lives with his wife Deb (who he met in a square dance) in West Hartford.

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Jenny & Ralph
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A very young Walt Sweet.
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Or better yet, see us in person!

Nov 3, 2017 at the Quiet Corner Contra Dance in Coventry, CT with caller Rich Sbardella.

Fifer's Delight Band

(860) 798-7568