WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
My booklet on calling contra dances for beginners.
with Betsy Branch: Midnight in Montague: fiddle duets
My Workshop For Fiddlers and Other Musicians
Northern Week 2000: At the concluding dance.
Photo by Jay Ungar.
In matters of attire, dance camp can be pretty relaxed.
At a birthday party across the road in Vansbro, Sweden, March 2000. My host Staffan Wrange with guitar. We played American music for his neighbors.
Photo by Anita Wrange.
Somewhat More Recently
La Bastringue at the Stroke of Midnight, New Year’s Eve 1999 – 2000 at the Guiding Star Grange Hall.
Photo by Ray Sebold
I’m a musician.
I play the fiddle, guitar, and piano. I sing, as well, with debatable musicality.
I’m a dance teacher, caller, and leader.
My areas of skill and interest include
basic Swedish turning dances: Schottische, polska, hambo, snoa, etc. .
I’m the caller and primary organizer of the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Friday contra dances at the Guiding Star Grange Hall in Greenfield, Massachusetts. I’ve been doing this since the fall of 1980.
How much longer am I going to be doing it? Good question … stay tuned.
I also call and/or play in other settings: Schools, libraries, private events (parties, weddings, funerals, etc.), village fairs, and more. I’m able to call and play at the same time and lead dances as a solo fiddler/caller, sort of like what one thinks of as a “dancing master” of the nineteenth century. I know a goodly number of easy circle, longways set, and contra dances and singing games which are well suited to situations where total beginners of any and all ages take part. Many of these events are outside the regular contra dance scene. I love working in them and believe that they’re the source of many of the contra dancers of the decades to come.
Where Am I?
I live in Montague Center, Massachusetts.
In a larger sense, I see myself as a member of a number of social dance scenes in New England, New York State, and the Northwest.
I keep practicing and learning other people’s favorite tunes, hoping I can stay on people’s lists as a hirable musician. When I’m over 90 years old, I’d like to be playing and calling and considered a solid band member and not a creaky and grouchy old relic being dusted off for “legacy” events, nostalgia trips, or homage to the past.
In the short term, I plan to simply do more of _everything_…including, by the way, something I did prolifically until the spring of 2002: Drawing and lettering dance publicity flyers by hand. In the tough times which followed, I abandoned my drdawing table, light box, pens, and drawing tools for
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