Captain Fiddle Music

Ryan and Brennish




Boston First Night Accordion

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Marching, marching, and more marching:

Boston First Night

by Ryan Thomson

A friend of mine builds large animated puppets and stage costumes. He had an idea for a

"samurai warrior on horseback theme." The costumes featured clever high wooden shoes on

a hobby horse type frame which created a realistic semblance of a person riding a little

horse. The riders had swords and wore tall cone shaped hats. He felt a need for something

more and contacted ne to play music. I'm usually up to try anything once and agreed to


There was a catch. We were to be performing on New Year's Eve, in Boston, outdoors. The

temperature that night was hovering around the 0 degree, Farenheit level. Just before I

left my home in New Hampshire to drive to Boston, I remembered my old ski gloves and

quickly cut off the fingertips, leaving the rest of the gloves intact. I wasn't sure how long I

could play outdoors at that temperature and needed to stay as warm as possible. My

fingertips stuck out just enough to press the accordion keys.

When I arrived in downtown Boston It turned out that I was to lead a parade of Samurai

warriors down a street lined with thousands of spectators. Fortunately I had my trusty

accordion. It was hard to decide what type of music to play in such a situation, but I

determined that loud and lively was good. We were on a street lined by tall office

buildings, and the accordion echoed nicely from building to building while the crowds

seemed to enjoy the sight, even if they weren't exactly sure what it was we were trying to


Several people asked me if the costumed riders on horseback represented the Ku Klux

Klan, since they were wearing cone shaped hats. I quickly reassured them that the riders

represented samurai warriors. My story broke down at that point since I couldn't come up

with a credible reason to explain why I was leading them down the street with accordion


I found that walking fast, and playing loudly generated enough heat to keep my fingers

comfortably warm for the duration of the parade. I probably had as much fun as the people

watching, and since I was wearing a mask, I'm sure that no one recognized me.

Written by Ryan Thomson, 1996