Thursday, December 26, 2013

Join Jim and Maggi at First Night Hartford 2013-14!

Two Shows at the Old State House, Main Street, Hartford
6:25 and 7:20 pm

"Wintertide at Year's Birth: Songs and Stories of the Season"
Drawn from a variety of styles and with historical/folklore narrative
For info:

Feel free to download or save this flyer:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas 2013

Trimmed the tree while watching 
"Mary Poppins" and "Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol"... 
having a Baby Boomer nostalgia-fest.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Jim and Maggi's Holiday Concerts continue: "A Victorian Christmas with Dickens" Sat. Dec. 14, 1 pm, Danvers, MA

"A Victorian Christmas with Dickens,"  Jim Dalton and Maggi Smith-Dalton perform an illustrated concert of Victorian music with excerpts from the Christmas stories of Charles Dickens, 1 pm, Dec. 14, 2013, at the Peabody Institute Library of Danvers, hosted by the Dickens Fellowship North of Boston. 

You are invited to participate on Dec. 14, 2013, 1 p.m., at the Peabody Institute Library of Danvers, 15 Sylvan St., Danvers, Mass., ( when the Dickens Fellowship North of Boston will host a special, family-friendly musical/historical program,  "A Victorian Christmas with Dickens," presented by musicians and historians Jim Dalton and Maggi Smith-Dalton.

This illustrated Victorian Christmas music program, featuring excerpts from Dickens' various Christmas stories, will use period American and British music. Songs and instrumentals will be performed live by the husband-and-wife team, in costume, and with period-appropriate instruments and style.

Members of the Dickens fellowship will also lead games and dances at special points in the program. Families are encouraged to attend in Victorian costume. 


Previous audiences found the Daltons to be "engaging, scholarly, delightful, warm, intelligent, flexible, humorous, talented, versatile, enthusiastic, personable, joyful".."Simply put, Jim and Maggi Dalton are a national treasure." The couple specializes in American 19th- and 20th-century music, history, and culture from parlor and stage, performed in historically-informed style. Their programs feature period and period-appropriate instruments. 

The Daltons have toured nationwide and have been featured often on commercial and NPR public radio, on television and in major-market newspapers and magazines.

Praised as "extraordinarily versatile," their performances feature repertoire drawn from the Middle Ages to contemporary music; and popular traditions including blues, jazz and Tin Pan Alley/Great American Songbook programs.

Honored by several state arts agencies, the Daltons have released four recordings and compose and perform original material. They designed a full spectrum of programs which they have performed throughout the United States, appearing at nationally-known historic sites such as Colonial Williamsburg; at colleges, in concert series, at festivals, at historical societies, for organizations of every description. More information may be found on their Website:

As artists-in-residence at various community and educational centers, they have presented series which address American history and various other topics in the humanities, using music as the core of each session. Jim Dalton is on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory. Maggi Smith-Dalton has published two books of regional history, and wrote a weekly column on Salem history for the Boston Globe from 2010-2012.

Jim Dalton and Maggi Smith-Dalton are founders and directors of the American History and Music Project, and the Salem History Society, both  of which are administered by the Institute for Music, History, and Cultural Traditions, a 501c3 Nonprofit Cultural, Educational, & Scholarly Organization.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Holiday Special on our Recordings!

Hope to see you tomorrow in Cheshire, Ct. at our Concert! Cheshire Public Library, Main Street, Cheshire,  4 pm free and open to the public


Buy two for the price of one if you purchase our recordings at one of our concerts

Buy two for $15.00 ($10 each otherwise) if you purchase from us by mail before December 31, 2013

Please send your check or money order to:
Singing String Music
203 Washington St. #263
Salem MA 01970
we'll pay the postage and handling!

*You can also find our recordings online through ITunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and Barnes and Noble...and other online stores (their regular prices apply)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Join musicians and historians Jim Dalton and Maggi Smith-Dalton  December 8, 2013, at 4 p.m. when the Cheshire Public Library, 104 Main Street, Cheshire, Ct. hosts their special musical/historical concert program  "300 Years of Christmastide in America." The family-friendly program is free and open to the public.

"300 Years of Christmastide in America" is a musical/historical journey across the United States, geographically, historically, AND stylistically.     

The Daltons will present music from America's past interspersed with poignant, amusing, or surprising anecdotes, most of them collected from primary sources.

More concerts coming up! Dec 14 2013  "A Victorian Christmas with Dickens," Danvers, MA and New Year's Eve: First Night Hartford (at Old State House)  We'll send you an invite for those too!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy to say will be performing several times in our beloved Connecticut in the holiday season, and seeing the New Year arrive with Hartford friends! More to come, but for now...we are really happy about our lineup for the next few months, well into 2014~!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

life is good

Beautiful day; setting up a new gig, walk with my honey, cutting up credit card offers, reading, music, great lunch, cooked half by Jim, half by me. Life is good.

Friday, September 13, 2013

We will be singing in the chorus for this concert! Join us!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

May gardening looks good this year! Roses are about to pop, clematis has sprung back, things look fairly healthy...I'm hoping I actually have decent time for gardening this year...the past few have been difficult for me that way (two books, two recordings, and a thesis...lots of INDOOR archival and studio and office time alas)....friends who visited in the past few years saw only a shadow of former years


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Illustrated Author Talk & Signing
A History of Spiritualism and the Occult in Salem: The Rise of Witch City by Maggi Smith-Dalton

When: Wednesday, 5/29/13 7 pm Free, Open to the Public
Where: Artemisia Botanicals
3 Hawthorne Blvd Salem, Massachusetts 01970

SALEM, Mass.–Did you ever wonder how it happened?

For centuries, Salem hid its shame … no one dared speak of its terrible legacy. Witches were spoken of, if at all, with "bated breath"; family documents had mysteriously gone missing, and descendants of both accused and accusers evidenced a kind of amnesia about the past.

Present day Salem, by contrast, openly celebrates its acceptance of pagans, witches, and alternative spiritual paths.

The story told by Maggi Smith-Dalton in "A History of Spiritualism and the Occult in Salem: The Rise of Witch City,"  newly published by The History Press, will help you understand the changes.

Smith-Dalton will give an illustrated book talk and signing on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 7 pm at Artemisia Botanicals, 3 Hawthorne Blvd Salem, Massachusetts 01970 (978)745-0065 (the store is close to  the Hawthorne Hotel). 

Spiritualism was an important element in 19th-century culture, in America and indeed worldwide. Salem provided fertile ground for the growth of this and other religions, yet, because of its link to witchcraft in the infamous trials of 1692 -- a serious and persistent black mark on the town's reputation -- struggled with anything which might give more fuel to the fire of being linked to occult practices.

Smith-Dalton's book examines this struggle and the elements that went into the gradual evolution of Salem towards what we would recognize as the Salem of today. The popularity of Spiritualism and renewed interest in the occult blossomed out of an attempt to find an intellectual and emotional balance between science and religion. Smith-Dalton's book explores the influence of the historical memory of the Salem witch trials on the development of alternative religions in 19th century New England culture.

It also tells a larger story about the way alternative religions such as Spiritualism grew in 19th century America, using Salem, a town that prided itself on its arts, culture, professional class, and love of science, as the connecting thread. In her second book for The History Press, historian Maggi Smith-Dalton delves into Salem’s exotic history, unraveling the beginnings of Spiritualism and the rise of The Witch City.

About the author:

Maggi Smith-Dalton began her singing career in cabarets and nightclubs and has maintained a parallel career as a historian most of her life. With her husband, Jim, she tours nationwide as a concert artist. They are specialists in "19th- & Early 20th-Century Music, History, and Culture From Parlor and Stage" on period & period-appropriate instruments, performed in historically-informed style.
Maggi is also a prizewinning short story writer and has a long history of writing feature articles and columns for magazines and newspapers. Most recently, she wrote a weekly history column for the Boston Globe ( (2010-12), and continues to freelance for print and online publications.
Maggi holds a master's degree in American Studies, and her current scholarly work focuses on historic civic rituals that incorporate music as a primary element, a subject on which she has presented domestically and abroad.
Maggi is president of the Institute for Music, History and Cultural Traditions, which runs two public programs: the American History and Music Project and the Salem History Society. In 2010, she was elected to the council of the New England American Studies Association.
"A History of Spiritualism" is her second book with The History Press; "Stories and Shadows from Salem's Past" was published in 2010. For more information:,_Books,_Media%29.html

A History of Spiritualism and the Occult in Salem: The Rise of Witch City
Copyright © 2012 by Maggi Smith-Dalton
ISBN 978.1.60949.551.0
Published by The History Press Charleston, SC 29403

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

One of the most joyful concert experiences we've had in recent years!
Thank you, Abington, Massachusetts...our concert at your beautiful library was a blast!
So...going slowly, steadily, no diets, merely paying more attention and thinking about what I eat, keeping the calories counted, and thinking daily how I will exercise that day...down a little over 13 lbs. Taking it off slowly, the way I put it on. NO diets, no extremism. I have an app that helps me keep track of calories, nutrition, and excercise...that helped me a lot.

(Also, I guess, not writing another book just now helps...being chained to the computer does things to your body.)

Am a recovered survivor of diets, and know where it leads. Usually, not to "healthy." But Jim and I are more focused on the healthy than the weight thing...I think that helps.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Okay, fellow Downton Abbey-era addicts! Join Jim & Maggi Dalton In Concert: "'Some of These Days' Roaring Tunefully Through the '20s."

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Abington Public Library, 600 Gliniewicz Way, Abington, MA 02351,

The password is "music" and the secret knock will be "fun."

Take a musical and historical tour of the American 1920s with musician/historians Jim Dalton and Maggi Smith-Dalton on Saturday, March 16, 2013, at 2 p.m., when the Abington Public Library, 600 Gliniewicz Way, Abington, MA 02351, 781-982-2139 will host a special musical/historical program, "'Some of These Days' Roaring Tunefully Through the '20s."

Hearken to the sounds and story of the triumph of the temperance movement with the passing of the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act in 1919. This inauguration of the era of Prohibition also spawned speakeasies, gangsters, and flappers.

Don your glad rags, take your sheba or sheik by the hand and travel with the Daltons through the hectic decade of the Jazz Age -- savor the golden musical treasures of Tin Pan Alley; marvel at the movies and radio; celebrate women's suffrage; take a peek at presidential politics; and rev up the Model T as we hurtle through this "Strange Interlude" towards the crash of '29.

The audience is invited to attend with an optional 20s "Look"… accessorized or costumed.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Boston Musical Intelligencer
"February 26, 2013
Composers Gather for Guitar Premieres
by Janine Wanée

Aaron Larget-Caplan, guitarist, a faculty member of Boston Conservatory, gave a free recital there Friday, which although casual, had the unique distinction of gathering in one place an extraordinary number of published composers for more world and regional compositional premieres than most guitar audiences have ever witnessed.

Seully Hall at first appearance is the right sized venue for a concert featuring an instrument as intimate as the classical guitar, but acoustically it fell short. The sound seemed to somehow get trapped in the rafters for some of the more intimate moments, while competing both with traffic sounds and with a nearby piano practice room. Larget-Caplan played with astounding technical proficiency and artistic delicacy, but wanted at times for more assertiveness in dance-like rhythm and dynamic contrast in voicing, which may be due partly to the space and to the technical demands of a potentially overwhelming amount of new repertoire to prepare and assimilate in one recital. So to treat this performance fairly in review would be to view it not as a pricey and prestigious debut, but more experimentally as a technically rigorous presentation forum; and in that light, it was by all means a very impressive and enjoyable performance.

Larget-Caplan made several adjustments to the first half of the program. Instead of opening with his own arrangement of J.S. Bach’s Fugue in C Minor, BWV 962 (transposed to d minor), he switched a more solidly familiar piece he could play with ease and confidence. Kevin Siegfried’s Tracing a wheel on water (2003), as its name would imply, was composed of a fluid and harmonically accessible, cyclical minimalism that, although meditative, contained subtly delightful, textural and rhythmic surprises.

In the opposite order in which they appeared on the program, Larget-Caplan dove into three lullabies by three separate composers, all of whom were present that evening. Jim Dalton’s A World of Your Own and David Patterson’s Lullaby for Ewe (both composed in 2012), were each introduced to an audience for the first time. Instead of the tuneful, lulling, rhythmic regularity that one conventionally associates with lullabies, both these pieces had a similar ambience through texture that was sonorously metaphoric of a blank canvass being kissed by muted splashes of watercolor. In the program notes, Jim Dalton states,

A lullaby should be seen as an invitation to a world of one’s own making, a dream world. I present examples of my own inner world as an invitation to each to travel to their own place and to create it for themselves. The quarter tones dissolving to unisons at the beginning and end are meant to lull the listener by entrainment-tension to relaxation. The inner world is a place where the magical and surprising are ever present and commonplace. Since it is created by the dreamer, it should be welcoming and peaceful.
Dalton’s World was comprised of harmonics, chord suspensions, tritones, and pentatonic allusions to the Orient...."

And Maggi adds:

I believe I see a PhD island in my telescope. A few waves in front of the canoe 'twixt here and there, but I'm starting to paddle that way, shipmates.

New plans for Singing String Music, and the American History and Music Project, too, and for book publications and recordings...kind of an exciting year ahead, if it all goes as planned.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My first footer came in the door at midnite, and hugged me and gave me a kiss....As he's done for 29+ years! Happy New Year to all!