Bob McQuillen 1923-2014

Bob McQuillen 1923-2014

Seems like all the bad news is reaching me first. Jimmy Keane just posted on Facebook that Bob McQuillen, a prolific composer of dance tunes, fine piano and piano accordion player for contra dances, and a really nice guy, has died. At least a few of his more than 1300 compositions are on this site, including Amelia’s Waltz.
https://thesession.org/tunes/6939

After winning a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Award in 2002, he sat in on Patty Furlong’s basic B/C button accordion class at the age of 80 in 2003 at the Catskills Irish Arts Week, which was, coincidentally, the first accordion class I took.

Re: Bob McQuillen 1923-2014

I’m sorry to hear this. I first heard his name (on the other side of the pond decades ago) in the title of this tune by Aly Bain https://thesession.org/tunes/1544 and soon after became aware of what an influential and popular man he was. RIP.

Re: Bob McQuillen 1923-2014

So long, Bob. We were lucky to have you as long as we did. "Sarah’s Jig" is one of the most finely crafted tunes around (and the first fiddle tune I ever learned). A lot of thought went into that. Thanks.

Rest in Peace

Re: Bob McQuillen 1923-2014

So many great dance tunes! Thank you, Bob.

Re: Bob McQuillen 1923-2014

That Patty Furlong class that Gary mentioned was my first accordion class also, and I very much enjoyed meeting Bob, who was a great guy, very down to earth. It wasn’t until years later that I realized what an influential musician he was. He will be missed by many people. RIP.

Re: Bob McQuillen 1923-2014

What a remarkable person he was. He took the joy of music and dancing with him wherever he went and he was loved by everyone. It was always such a great pleasure to play a few tunes with him. I will miss that, but I have many wonderful memories of him. Sorry to see you go, Mac, but thanks for everything.

Re: Bob McQuillen 1923-2014

I have many memories of McQuillen over the years. One that stands out is from a wedding that we played in Hanover, NH. Our band hired Bob to play piano with us and of course he brought along his accordion. There were a few Korean nationals at the wedding. In the middle of the festivities he took out his accordion and played the Korean national anthem. They were thrilled, as were we.
Bob later told us that he had been stationed in Korea at one point in his life and that he had learned some of their music. I can imagine Bob saying to Allen Block, "Well bub, you beat me up here but now that I’m here let’s get to it." And they’d play a few tunes together. Or so I’d like to imagine in my wildest dreams.
The last I saw him was on a flight to Tucson, Arizona. I didn’t see him until I heard him teasing and laughing with a flight attendant as he boarded. I still don’t know why he was going to Tucson.

Re: Bob McQuillen 1923-2014

New England Contra Dance History - Old Timers Talk (1 of 6) - Bob McQuillan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z60PurujJr4

(2 of 6)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4MfrbTTggQ

(3 of 6)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n4f3ByTw8o

(4 of 6)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73LZo2bPlww

(5 of 6)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7iQT7S0YgM

(6 of 6)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ko9-N3znoFg


Salute to Bob McQuillen ~ that’s Bob at the piano
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oIG8Zct3nk


Many fine times with Mr. McQuillen, who has inspired a hell of a lot of folk to dance, to play music, to smile.

Bob McQuillan: “Playing for dances is like getting paid to eat ice-cream.”

My wife’s response when I just broke this news ~ a very sad and lengthy "Nooooooo!"

Bob McQuillan’s compositions:

"Amelia’s Waltz"
# Added by David Levine - March 13th, 2007
https://thesession.org/tunes/6939

"The Dancing Bear" - reel
# Added by d palmer - March 9th, 2006
https://thesession.org/tunes/5582

Initially I’ve only found these two, there must be more here in the database? I’ll have to pull out his notebooks and find one to add in memory…

Re: Bob McQuillen 1923-2014

McQuillen!!! not Quillan (another thread), not McQuillan.. :-/ Thanks Bob for the patience and the good cheer, all that music and dance. Whew!

Re: Bob McQuillen 1923-2014

And I remember a late night session at Ashokan one summer when Bob was on staff. He was supposed to be leading it, but people were veering into unknown territory. Finally he pounded on the piano and said, "I’m getting paid to lead this, and dammit, we’re gonna play something I know!"

Re: Bob McQuillen 1923-2014

The end of an era, Goodbye Bob, thanks for the tunes and quips and good humor. Always had to be careful to keep clear of his dangling KEYS. Roger & Helen

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