Eloise & Co. features the combined creative force of two of the country’s most sought-after dance musicians, Becky Tracy and Rachel Bell. These two crank out dance and concert music with unbridled energy and soaring beauty. Their depth and versatility is evident not only in their dynamic playing but also in their rich and unique repertoire, ranging from exciting original compositions to rock-solid traditional tunes. Eloise & Co. was born out of Becky and Rachel’s transcendent melodic connection, their shared love for powerful rhythmic momentum, and their joy in making music together. The blissful vibe is contagious, drawing everyone in the room into a sublime and memorable experience.
Rachel Bell grew up playing the piano and spent her college years studying music education and classical piano. As a college freshman, she surprised even herself when she picked up a piano accordion and “accidentally” fell in love with it. Rachel now enjoys a busy gig schedule playing concerts, contra dances, English country dances, French dances, and festivals.
Rachel’s bands include Alchemy, Peregrine Road, Old World Charm School, Seaglass, Eloise & Co. and a slew of other combinations. She plays tunes from France, New England, Scotland, Ireland, England, Quebec, and beyond, as well as songs, original compositions, and even crazy roots-rock arrangements. Recently, Rachel has been collaborating with Susan Kevra to compose new tune/choreography combinations to send out into the English country dance repertoire.
The past few years have been bursting with big changes, big travel, and exciting new musical collaborations. After six years as a public school music teacher, Rachel finally let go of that last shred of normalcy and launched into full-time freelance musician-hood. Her obsession with French music and dance led to three music-focused overseas trips, and her obsession with finding the perfect instrument led to the purchase of an incredible tone-chambered Beltuna that sounds exquisite. During June 2016, in the midst of playing piles of camps, gigs, and festivals, Rachel released her debut solo album, Tone Chamber. This recording highlights the versatility of the accordion and boasts and impressive cast of guest musicians.
Rachel’s playing is infused with a contagious enthusiasm for her instrument and a deep love for the musical traditions she carries. Her passion is to share with others the delight she finds when immersed in this music, ushering them into a place where their toes can’t help tapping and their ears are dunked in strawberry jam.
Becky Tracy has dance music in her blood. Her grandparents were active in the dance scene around Boston in the 1930’s and were involved in the early years of NEFFA (New England Folk Festival Association) – still an important institution in the New England dance scene. Becky’s parents met through dancing and were leaders of community dances for many years.
Becky herself began playing for contra dancing in Maine, bending her early classical training to the demands of dance music. Later, she studied Irish fiddling styles with Brendan Mulvihill and Eugene O’Donnel and French Canadian fiddling with Lisa Ornstein. She brought things full circle when she appeared as the featured soloist with the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra in their performance of Evan Chambers’ Fiddle Concerto.
All these elements combined to give Becky her distinctive clarity of tone, a rhythmic attack owing much to French Canadian playing and the melodic quality of Irish music. Her sound is unmistakable. She has been a defining presence in some of the most popular and innovative contra dance bands to come out of New England, being the fiddler for both Wild Asparagus and Nightingale. Becky is featured on recordings by both these groups. She has performed for dance events and concerts in about 40 states across the US, as well as Canada and Europe and is a popular fiddle teacher at summer music camps. Her solo recording, Evergreen (2001) is an album of haunting beauty, intimacy and exuberance.
The Chenango Sessions, hosted by Andru Bemis, is a weekly, one-hour nationally syndicated radio program which primarily features world-class musicians playing in intimate spaces—living rooms, galleries, and listening rooms—for small, enthusiastic audiences around Binghamton, New York. Audiences and artists are encouraged to interact, and the spirit of the live show is preserved in the radio program and recordings.
Due to the intimate nature of the venues, not all Chenango Sessions are open to the public. If no address is listed, it’s probably a show in a private home. But don’t let that stop you! To attend a private session, you can subscribe to our periodic email newsletter, check the performer’s website, or get details from an acquaintance, family member, or other guest.
100% of audience donations go directly to the artists. To ensure a seat for you at the performance, and so we know how many folks to expect, we encourage you to make your donation in advance by clicking the yellow “Reserve Your Seats!” button above. Guests without advance reservations may donate—cash or check only—when they arrive, and will be seated according to availability. Reasonably well-behaved kiddos and babies are always welcome.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Music starts at 7 p.m. and will continue until 8:30 p.m. or so. Feel free to stay and visit after the performance, and don’t be afraid to arrive late or leave early if your schedule requires it.
If you have questions or would like more information, contact Andru.
We’re looking forward to seeing you at the show!