Bob Dennison

Over this bustle of departure came a sweet, thrilling, haunting sound. Bob had tucked his fiddle back under his chin and was playing Danny Boy. The departing guests stopped whatever they were doing – reaching for the doorknob, putting on a child’s snowsuit, having a last sip of coffee – to listen. Bob and his fiddle were giving us all a gift of music to carry with us into the night.


Bob died on the first of October, at the age of seventy seven. He went the way most of us say we want to, without a long illness that took him away from this home he so clearly loved. When I would see him around town he would say hello in a friendly manner but he seemed quiet and reserved by nature. Only when he picked up his fiddle was he transformed into a worthy heir to that ancient tradition of the wandering minstrels, sharing their gift, bringing people together with song.


I couldn’t be at this year’s Hullabaloo, but Bob was. Janet Shea read a poem I had found called Beannacht – Irish for blessing. The poem speaks of the “ghost of loss.” The sight of Bob driving  around town, having breakfast at Farmer’s, out in his  flowering yard, is lost to us. But his music lives in all of us who heard it and in memory hear it still, a comfort and blessing from our minstrel.