Dancing for all ages and local fiddle music are the centerpiece of January's AmBank First Friday, to be held on the dance floor of the Silco Theater this Friday, January 4 from 6 to 9 pm.

"Regulars have been asking for more than a year to try a fiddle-themed AmBank First Friday, so I put in a call to Jeanie McLerie of Bayou Seco and in less than a week we had planned the Mid-Winter Frolic," said Silver City MainStreet Manager Nick Seibel. "Jeanie pulled together four great bands from Grant County, arranged for contra dance caller Marge Mullany to come down from Albuquerque, and there it was."

Music throughout the evening will be provided by Bayou Seco, a Silver City-based duo that has toured worldwide, as well as members of the Fiddle Club, made up of teenaged fiddlers. McLerie speaks highly of the group, and with good reason.  "They love to play for dancers and can play snappy 2 steps, Old time Appalachian square dance tunes, and even a South African rocker from Soweto called Dragon Special," McLerie said. "They have been playing for many years with my help and that of (husband and Bayou Seco partner) Ken Keppeler."

In their debut performance, The Silver Toes String Band will also be featured during the frolic. The band, a group of local adults discovering fiddle music in their middle age, includes Craig Wentz and Gayle Simmons, Cynthia Coleman, Carol Fugagli, Marie Duvergé and more, as well as Keppeler and McLerie.

Rounding out the list of entertainers is the Irish Seisiun Group of County Grant, a "mostly fiddle" group that has been playing together for four years. Lead and inspired by the fearless Eileen Sullivan, Silver City's head librarian, the group is known for jigs, reels, polkas, slides, hornpipes, waltzes and marches – "all played with great panache and spirit," according to McLerie.

"I've never participated in a contra dance before, but I'm planning on being out on the floor Friday night," Seibel said. "One of the great things about having an experienced caller like Marge is that they're basically your guide - and I'm told that it's easy to pick up the dances, and fun even while you're learning."

The free AmBank First Friday fun isn't just limited to the confines of the Silco Theater, either. Just next door, Leyba & Ingalls Arts will feature a wood block printing demonstration by Silver City native and local historian Phillip Parotti from 5 to 7 pm.
Meanwhile, the Mimbres Region Arts Council's gallery in Wells Fargo Bank will serve hot spiced cider and other goodies from 3:30 to 4:30 at the opening of  “Celebrate Silver,” a new show featuring the work of local FeVa Fotos photographers Sandy Feutz and Tom Vaughan. The show includes many never-seen-before photos of local events, people, places and more, and will also be available for viewing from 9 am through 4 pm, Tuesday through Friday, ending January 31.

"We're always up for trying something new on AmBank First Fridays, and this month's something new also happens to be a very old way of getting together and having fun with your neighbors and their families," Seibel said. "I hope to see the dance floor packed all night long, with folks dancing away the winter blues."

More information about AmBank First Fridays events can be found at SilverCityMainStreet.com, or by calling the MainStreet office at (575) 534-1700.

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