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“No Such Thing as Idle Hands” Opening Concert and Reception

May 29, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Songs about the history of woman’s work

Join the Bidwell House Museum on Sunday May 29 at 2 pm for our first in-person opening concert since 2019! We are so excited to welcome back Diane Taraz who will be performing her new show “No Such Thing as Idle Hands: The History of Woman’s Work”.

During the performance, we will explore the amazing number of things women used to have to know how to do in order to keep their families alive. Through folk songs and a popular book published by Lydia Child in 1823, The American Frugal Housewife, we consider cooking, brewing, baking, cheese-making, personal care (including advice to wash your hair in New England rum), remedies for ailments (including quincy, dropsy, and piles), soap-making, laundering, and fabric arts. Some of the songs included are:

Charming Billy, in which a young man seeks a wife who can bake a cherry pie, make a feather bed, etc., etc.

Father Grumble, in which a husband and wife swap roles to see who can do more work in a day.

John O’Dreams, a lovely Irish lullaby that stresses the equality of sleep, a comfort available to both rich and poor.

Lord Rendal, in which a rich young man is poisoned by his sweetheart (or maybe she’s just a spectacularly bad cook).

The Housewife’s Lament, in which a woman bemoans the futility of the battle against dirt, as she is destined to be buried in it.

A reception to celebrate the start of the season will follow the concert. Refreshments will be served.

A Pittsfield native, Diane Taraz has long made her home in the Boston area, performing extensively throughout New England. She is the director of the Lexington Historical Society Colonial Singers and a longtime member of the Gloucester Hornpipe & Clog Society. Her recordings are available through her website at www.dianetaraz.com.

This program is free for members and $15 for non-members.


May 29, 2022
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


The Bidwell House Museum
100 Art School Road
Monterey, MA 01245 United States


The Bidwell House Museum

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