August 2006 Folk Enews

July 31, 2006 on 8:23 pm | In Monthly Folk eNews

Howdy, Folkies,

Biggest August news is…..finally, after several years of waiting, we get to dance at the Heights Community Center in Albuquerque once again. For those who don’t know, the Heights has been our dance home for thirty years, featuring a beautiful wood floor, great stage area for the band and caller, plus a ‘visiting room’ just off the main dance hall. Make note of the new times–Heights dances will start at 7:30 p.m. and end promptly at 10:30 p.m. The FOLKMADS calendar has incorrect times for the Albuquerque August dances.

John Brinduse says it best, “WE’RE GOING HOME!!!! And we owe a HUGE debt of thanks to Scott Mathis and Joli Sharp! When Heights was still under construction and the City was giving us little progress information, Scott went down several times to the site and spoke with supervisors and sub-contractors. He kept on it and kept contacting the City. Then at the last Board meeting, 7/10, just one day before he and Linda were driving to California for a Festival and a gig, he brought the contract that the City had just given him that day… We went over it at the meeting, and decided, once there were a few clarifications, to proceed with it. With Scott out of state, Joli (who was tying up loose ends in preparation for a long stretch out-of-state herself), stepped up and took over. She contacted the City, clarified the questions we had about event times and security, investigated the insurance situation, took steps to get the policy renewed and had a back up agent in case that fell through, went down to the City, paid them and signed the contract, and then got the insurance documents to them. All this with a full-time job and a Grand Canyon trip to pack for! What a Treasurer! Above and beyond! So, now that we have our Home Base back, I hope to see all of you at the August 5th Dance, except for Joli, whom I wish Bon Voyage and a safe journey down the Colorado. Bravo Scott! Bravo Joli! What a team! –John Brinduse, Board Member, FolkMADS”

Taos Tin Whistle Classes start on Tuesday, August 1st
Learn to Play the Tin Whistle! an Eight Week Class with Master Celtic Musician Roger Landes. Celtic Music is Fun! Beginners Welcome! Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Slides, Marches, Polkas, Slip Jigs, Mazurkas, Slow Airs. The Humble Tin Whistle is one of the Simplest and Least Expensive Instruments in the World, but it is also one of the most Enjoyable and Challenging! Join Roger for an 8-week exploration of the Tin Whistle and Celtic Music! You don?t have to read music or even to have played an instrument before. All classes on Tuesday evenings, August 1st through September 19th, at a private home in Taos. Please contact him if you are interested in attending but are not yet on the list. They still need a few more people to make our minimum. Each session lasts 2 hours. Cost is $10 per week for 8 weeks, payable in advance or in two, four-week payments of $40. Whistles (key of “D”) are available at Que Pasa, 338 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, (505) 758-7344. Tell them Roger sent you! For more information Call or Email Roger: 751-3512, rwlandes@taosnet.com.

Albuquerque Concert, Thursday, August 3
The Greencards, N4th Theater, 4904 4th St NW (at Griegos)
7:30 PM, $15 advance, $20 at the door.
Tickets at abqmusic.com, Bookworks and Natural Sound
Bosque Concerts is thrilled to bring The Greencards back to Albuquerque. Last time they were here they packed the Windchime Gallery for a night of high energy folk-influenced bluegrass. Since then, they’ve been touring steadily and winning fans all over the country and the world, including a recent appearance at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Members of the band hail from Australia and the UK, which gives them a somewhat different take on bluegrass. This is how the Rocky Mountain News described their Telluride set: “The Austin, Texas-based ensemble of two Australians and a Brit plays Celtic-influenced, bluegrass-flavored originals. That they sound so quintessentially American speaks to the universality of acoustic music and the band’s instrumental prowess. It’s a band to reckon with in acoustic circles.”

Corrales Sing, Friday, August 4
FOLK SONG CIRCLE. They’re meeting to sing as usual on Friday, August 4th. August’s theme is
HILLS, MOUNTAINS, AND VALLEYS.
FIRST FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH, 8:00 P.M. TO MIDNIGHT
Each participant in the circle may lead a song, do a solo, request a song, or pass. Bring enthusiasm, songbooks, instruments, beverages/snacks, kids, and friends.
Contact: Laurie McPherson 898-6978
Email: lauriemcpherson@hotmail.com or lmcpherson@salud.unm.edu
114 Coronado Road, Corrales, 87048
(Directions: From the intersection of Alameda and Coors, go 1.8 miles north on Corrales Road. Pass the Chevron station, go several blocks. Just past the Horseman?s Supply store, turn left on Coronado Road. Post office is too far. They?re the second house on the right, come in past the barns to park.)

Albuquerque Contra Dance, Saturday, August 5
Marj Mullany will call with One Good Turn (Gary Papenhagen on fiddle, Peter Wegman on guitar, Graham Daily on fiddle, and Lou Blackwell on bass). playing rollicking dance tunes. Remember new starting and ending times: 7:30 – 10:30 p.m., acoustic jam and newcomers class at 7 p.m. Heights Community Center, 823 Buena Vista SE!!!. One block east of University and just south of Lead/Coal. Bring clean dance shoes. No shoes with nails or that leave black scuff marks, please. $6 members, $7 others.

Durango Contra Dance, Saturday, August 5
Saturday evening August 5, is the monthly Contra Dance. It will be held this month at the Senior Center, 2424 Main Avenue, between the High School and the Fairgrounds. Beginner instruction is at 7:00 p.m. Dancing is from 7:30 to 10:30. All dances are taught and called. No partner is necessary, and dancers of all abilities are welcome. Admission is $10. Live music will be provided by the band Loose Ends from Flagstaff. Local callers Wendy Graham and Paul Bendt will conduct the dance. For further information, call KAY ZILLICH 970-259-6820.

Wildlife West Music Festival, Saturday, August 5 AND Sunday, August 6
Don?t miss John McCutcheon this Saturday and Sunday, August 5 & 6. The Wildlife West Music Series features John McCutcheon, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, Raising Cane and the Nob Hillbillies. John McCutcheon is one of our most respected and loved folk singers who doesn?t get to New Mexico very often. An instrumentalist with a mastery of a dozen different traditional instruments, John?s songwriting has been hailed by critics and singers around the globe. His twenty-four recordings have garnered every imaginable honor, including five Grammy nominations. Don?t miss John?s concerts at 3 and 7pm on Sunday, and 8pm on Saturday. Concerts start at 1 on Sunday and the Guitar Contest is at 4 with a guitar awarded the winner. Evening concerts continue at 5 until 8. John McCutcheon also performs Saturday evening at the Chuck Wagon BBQ. Make reservations by 2pm Saturday (281-7655) for dinner and concert. A number of folks will be camping Saturday night, so come out and jam under the stars after John?s concert. Just 25 minutes east of Albuquerque, events are held in a covered amphitheater. You don?t need chairs, you?re not sitting in the sun, and even if it rains, you?re covered. Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike were nominated for the 1999 and 2000 IBMA ?Emerging Artist of the Year? award. Valerie?s fascination with music began at the age of five. She can belt out a bluegrass toe-tapper one minute and tear out your heart with a country-flavored ballad the next. Her boundless energy and explosive delivery will be featured at 2 and 6pm Sunday. Raising Cane is a favorite band in the Southwest, performing at 1 and 5pm. You’ll be able to check out their new CD. The New Talent Showcase at 4:30 features Albuquerque?s own Nob Hillbillies. There are workshops at 5 in Songwriting, Fiddle, Dobro and Bass, plus jam sessions throughout the day. There?s plenty of food, free dry camping, and admission is just $15 at the gate, children under 12 are free. Call 281-7655, or check out www.wildlifewest.org .

Taos Concert, Sunday, August 6
Radio Free Bassanda!
Music from the Mediterranean, Near East and Balkans at the Adobe Bar in the Taos Inn
Sunday, August 6th, 2006, 7:00-10:00pm
Radio Free Bassanda! was founded out of a shared interest in the various modal musics from around the Mediterranean, the Middle & Near East, and the Balkans. Modal music is one of the oldest types of music, while remaining the dominant musical language in many parts of the world. Modal musics emphasize melody and rhythm rather than harmony and they invariably contain a great deal of improvisation and spontaneous invention. Radio Free Bassanda! brings a wide range of repertoire and instrumentation to their performances. Their use of both eastern and western instruments affords them a broad timbral palette with which to weave their sound pictures. Energetic and complex rhythms challenge the ear and the feet! Roger Landes – plucked strings, Arabic Oud (lute), Turkish Lavta, Irish bouzouki, Greek Laouto; Chipper Thompson – percussion: Arabic Dumbeq and Riqq Turkish Darabukka, Persian Zarb; Ben Wright – Double Bass. More info, Roger Landes, rwlandes@taosnet.com. New website! http://rogerlandes.com

Santa Fe Contra Dance, Saturday, August 12
Donna Howell teaching workshops and then calling the evening dance with One Good Turn. 8 p.m. -11 p.m., IOOF Hall, 1125 Cerrillos Rd. Instruction at 7:30 p.m. $6 members, $7 others for evening dance, not sure how much workshops cost. There will be two couples dance workshops (waltz at 3, and zweifache at 4:30), followed by a community potluck at 6 and the regular contradance at 8! WALTZ workshop (at precisely 3 p.m.) No partners necessary, and men are encouraged to attend since the emphasis will be on leading. All experience levels welcome (and encouraged!) The workshop will cover these important points:
FRAME: “You stay in your space, I’ll stay in mine” or why its easier to move the box spring than the mattress;
LEADING: The gentle art of moving a 120 pound barrel with a triple jointed swivel handle;
FOLLOWING: Why a woman should never be light as a feather in a man’s arms; and
WHY A WALTZ IS NEVER COUNTED 1,2,3-1,2,3. If you don’t know where the 4 is, you’ll never be able to lead.

Then, the rhythmic delights of ZWIEFACHE (at precisely 4:30 p.m.): Zwiefache are tunes and dances that change time signatures between 2/4 and 3/4. Dancers alternate between waltz steps and quick spinning pivots. They are the easiest and most fun turning couple dances and are done as “break” or final pieces at contra dances across the country. Zwiefache are a very old form of music, documented back to the middle of the 16th century. In parts of Europe in earlier centuries they were banned because they “excited peasants to rebellious emotions” and featured the “shameless turning” of women by men (of course, waltzes ran into the same problems). Each highly melodic zwiefacher has its own formula, learned by listening to the music to hear the changing meter. A zwiefacher will put you in touch with the music like no other dance and will vastly improve your frame for waltzing.

Santa Fe Concerts, August 12
Rodney Crowell & Nanci Griffith at Paolo Soleri Amphitheater. Santa Fe Indian School, 1501 Cerrillos Road Santa Fe. 505-989-6318. Or Anoushka Shankar at the Lensic, www.lensic.com, your choice.

No Second Sunday Dance in August in Albuquerque!!

Albuquerque House Concert, Monday, August 14
Bosque House Concert #89, The Texas Sapphires, 7:30 pm, $12 minimum suggested donation
Contact Jeff at abqmusic@att.net for reservations, or use our on-line registration at www.abqmusic.com/houseconcerts.html
It’s always fun to have a large, unamplified band drop by the house concerts. The Texas Sapphires are a quintet who play hard-driving traditional country. You’ve got dueling male/female lead vocals drenched with weeping dobro and a solid back beat. Their debut album “Valley So Steep” was produced by the talented Texas musician Lloyd Maines, who has done fine work on CD’s by Ruthie Foster, Susan Gibson, The Waybacks and The Dixie Chicks. They seem to be taking Austin by storm, winning the Austin Chronicle’s Critics’ Poll for best new band in 2005, and were named the best new band in 2006 in the Readers’ Poll and at the Austin Music Awards. The Austin Chronicle says “”This is what country music is supposed to sound like: Banjo, guitar, bass, and drums, with a Tammy Wynette voice courtesy of Rebecca Cannon. The Sapphires plunder the classic country catalog with organic, homespun panache … you could close your eyes and imagine them doing their sprawling happy hour sets on a front porch in some lost Tennessee holler.”

Albuquerque Megaband Practice, Tuesday, August 15
Join the Megaband on Tuesday, August 15, at the Blue Dragon, 1517 Girard NE, Albuquerque, 7:30-10:30 p.m. More info: Bruce Thomson, 277-4729.

Albuquerque House Concert, Friday, August 18
Nathan Knowles and Deena Smith
7:30 p.m., 1000 Parkland Circle SE, Albuquerque
266-6928 or 858-3463, or email gcnewma@sandia.gov
Nathan Knowles and Deena Smith are both multi-instrumental singer songwriters of swing and jazz with a spice of folk, rock, blues, country, bluegrass and everything in between. Their repertoire includes songs by Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Django Reinhardt, Johnny Mercer, Van Morrison, Jackson Browne and Delbert McClinton. Please come early, bring a small folding chair, your favorite beverage, and a $10-buck donation for the traveling duo. There will be about 25 chairs for the early birds. Snacks, tea and a cooler of ice for your drinks provided. For a live recording, log onto their website and click on Hear Our Music, http://www.musicalchairsproductions.com.

Las Cruces Contra Dance, Friday, August 18
Dance cancelled due to family emergency. They will resume the dance in September.

Albuquerque Contra Dance, Saturday, August 19
Linda Starr and Lewis Land calling to the hot old-time tunes of the Albuquerque Megaband. 7:30-10:30 p.m., Heights Community Center, 823 Buena Vista SE (1 block east of University, south of Lead/Coal). Acoustic jam and instruction at 7 p.m. Members $6; nonmembers $7. Bring clean dance shoes. No shoes with nails or that leave black scuff marks, please.

Taos Contra Dance, Saturday, August 19
Dance at the San Geronimo Lodge, Witt Road. Dance starts at 7:00 p.m. and goes until 10. Want more info? Call 758-7362 (Ellen) or 776-1580 (Jim and Hope). Caller Katherine Bueler and the Taos ContraBand playing.

Silver City Dance, Saturday, August 19th
The Silver Heels Community Dance Band presents an old-time community dance at the Unitarian Fellowship Hall, 3845 N. Swan St. from 7:30 to 10:00 pm. All dances taught, no partner necessary. Virginia Reel, La Bastrange, Waltzes and 2 steps, Polkas and Rancheras, the Broom Dance, and lots more… Children welcome. Admission by donation, refreshments will be available. Information: 388-1727. Press contact: Doug Abbott, 388-4879.

Santa Fe Bandstand 2006 - Free Concert on the Plaza
Tuesday, Aug 22 2006
The Plaza in Santa Fe
Free concert on the plaza featuring Love Buzzards, a reunion of old friends who love traditional folk music. I think Love Buzzards are Ted Seeley, Miguel Combs, Cary Stickney and possibly Haywood Martin, good old-time dance musicians and dancers!
Contact: Santa Fe Bandstand, 505-986-6054

http://www.santafebandstand.org

Santa Fe Contra Dance and Farewell to Marti Buck, Saturday, August 26
Alas, Santa Fe dancer Marti Buck is moving to Walla Walla, WA to work in northeastern Oregon. She is planning a farewell potluck before the regularly scheduled 4th Saturday dance in August.
So, mark your calendar to attend the “going away potluck for Marti Buck,” August 26 at Odd Fellows Hall, Santa Fe. Set up at 5:30, any help would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to call Marti at 505-455-9335 or email martibuck@hotmail.com . Lesson and dance will begin as usual. Open caller’s mike and SF Community Band playing for the evening dance. 8 p.m. -11 p.m., IOOF Hall, 1125 Cerrillos Rd. Instruction at 7:30 p.m. $6 members, $7 others.

Albuquerque Concert, Saturday, August 26
Asylum Street Spankers
Outpost Performance Space, 210 Yale SE
8 PM, $15 in advance, $20 at the door
Tickets at abqmusic.com, Bookworks and Natural Sound
The Asylum Street Spankers are a band that defies categorization. They really have to be experienced live. Known for incorporating everything from hip hop to bluegrass into their set, a typical Asylum Street Spankers set includes:
– Late 20’s jazz a la the Squirrel Nut Zippers
– a bluegrass version of a Beastie Boys song
– early jazz and blues standards
– Acoustic covers of Black Flag (as a hoedown), the B-52’s and The Jazz Butcher
– A beautiful instrumental waltz on clarinet, banjo, fiddle and stand-up bass, with the lead taken on saw.
– Country & Western gangster ballads melded with gangster rap
with live sampling of classic southern rock and scratching – on a dobro.
Warning: The Spankers are known for their irreverence and love to push boundaries. Bawdy lyrics and profanity are pretty much guaranteed!

Make a mental note re: ABQ Sept. 2 Dance
Due to the holiday weekend, this dance will be back at the Albuquerque Square Dance Center. Katherine Bueler calling. Then we go back to the Heights Community Center on September 16 with Richard Wilson calling to the Megaband!

This and That
Annual Santa Fe Festival in August: Mark your calendars this month for the annual SANTA FE BLUEGRASS & OLD TIME MUSIC FESTIVAL, AUGUST 25-27, 2006. Visit www.southwestpickers.com for information and to purchase discounted weekend passes with FREE camping.

Albuquerque Journal Article on Contra Dancing: Some of you are famous! There was a great article with color photos (you’ll recognize a lot of yourselves) in the Sunday Albuquerque Journal Boomer magazine on July 23. An e-version is available at http://epaper.abqjournal.com/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=U1AvMjAwNi8wNy8yMyNBcjAwNDAw&Mode=HTML&Locale=english-skin-custom.

Mark your calendars for Globalquerque! Saturday and Sunday, September 23 & 24: ?Globalquerque! – at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Early Bird tickets at http://www.globalquerque.com/ticketspecial.html

Wasatch Wiggle Utah Dance Camp Report: Albuquerque dancer Richard Riger posted a blog entry about his first out-of-state dance camp at http://folkmadsroadtrips.blogspot.com/ My own Wiggle report is the next entry on my full blog (www.merridancing/com/wp) below this enews.

Summer Nights Concert Info: At the Albuquerque Aquarium and Biopark; http://mesa.cabq.gov/cityapps/noticias.nsf/691720db7823c3eb87256ee5006e4876/4d5c257c530ef7688725713800592b9b?OpenDocument

Albuquerque Zoo Concerts: http://mesa.cabq.gov/cityapps/noticias.nsf/691720db7823c3eb87256ee5006e4876/9c7dd98b923d63cb8725713a005f7aa4?OpenDocument

And finally, the “Geezerization” of our music and dance community: I think fiddler Bruce Thomson coined the term “geezerization,” a humorous way to note that most of us are over 50, and many are close to or over 60 now. We want to see traditional folk music and dance continue beyond us. So we’re starting the discussion. I chimed in with, “Most of us are in our 50’s and 60’s. Between the Mullany children, ages 10 and 12, and the rest of us, ages 50-65, there is a HUGE 40 to 50 year gap in age [Joli and Wendy Graham being exceptions]. We desperately need to recruit several 100 young (ages 20-30) dancers, musicians and callers to secure the future of folk music and dance in general and FOLKMADS specifically. Ten or 15 years down the line, without new blood, here in NM the music/dance train will become extinct. It’s a sobering prospect.” In response, Joli Sharp (one of our vibrant 30-something-year-olds, wrote, “Yes….and there will come a sad time in my life when all my (geezerized) friends are gone and I will be dancing alone to recordings of them. But how does one make other people like oldtime music???? You like it or you don’t. And a warning: we shall not schmooze too heavily and drool upon any twenty-something that happens to come among us. The women will think us lecherous, and run screaming out the door (really. I have seen it happen). And the men will just think us…..creepy. I think we need an outdoor festival, rustic, with great food and beer-powered latenight jamming, and vendors selling very artful hippie stuff. We need to invite the Foghorn String Band, and Rayna Gellert, and get into some of the great high-energy younger oldtime bands that are out there. We need a hip logo and great art, and we need to allow our dances to be vigorous and rowdy, even if it’s not what we are used to and it Scares us. We have a lot to overcome before this can happen, not the least of which is being willing to let things change. I think they will change, even if it’s eventually and over our dead bodies. But I don’t think we are ready, and that is ok. I like geezers just fine. Joli”

Send me your own thoughts about geezerization and anything else, and I’ll post them on next month’s blog. That’s all for now. Enjoy the monsoons!

Merri Rudd, email: merri@merridancing.com
Albuquerque NM
www.merridancing.com

Wasatch Wiggle Report

July 30, 2006 on 6:30 pm | In Road Trips

Imagine travelling 600 miles to a remote mountain resort outside Salt Lake City, Utah to be the guest caller at a dance weekend you’ve never attended. You’ll be working with a band you’ve never heard play and calling for dancers you’ve never seen dance. Will they know how to dance? Does the band know the kinds of tunes you need? How will you be received? Luckily, I didn’t spend much time worrying about any of these things. If I had, it would have been a waste of time. The weekend worked out just fine.

I just wrote this blurb for the Bag o’ Tricks’, my band for the weekend, web page.

“I was hired to call a dance weekend in Utah with Bag o’ Tricks. Neither the band nor I had ever encountered one another. I was in for a mighty pleasant surprise–I absolutely adored working with Bag o’ Tricks! Anita Anderson, Dave Bartley, and Sande Gillette are hugely talented, supremely cooperative, eager to please, hilarious, upbeat and amazingly versatile. Need a rowdy, southern, tune? Done. Slinky, sexy, jazzy? Done, done, done. Flowing, mixed, African/Egyptian? No problem. English country? Anita will help you teach by lightly playing piano during the walk-throughs. And they authored half the tunes they play. An added bonus: all band members are delightful, good-hearted human beings and lots of fun to hang out with. I’d work with them again in a heartbeat!”

Bag o’ Tricks’ fiddler Sande Gillette replied,

“Thank you so much for all your kind words. The feeling is definitely mutual — we had so much fun working with you and experiencing your wide range of styles, your amazing ability to make people not only comfortable but ready to also try something new, and your fun sense of humor. We saw behind the scenes how much preparation and thought you had given to the weekend, but you have the great ability to make it all seem spontaneous — a recipe for success for dancers, musicians, caller, and camp. I hope we have the opportunity to work with you somewhere again soon!!!!”

Those two quotes summarize the success of the weekend. But I’ll share a few more details.

I was walking out of my room at the quaint Brighton Lodge, when I rounded a corner and saw two people, one of whom (Dave Bartley) I recognized from the Wiggle web page. “Are you Mary?” I asked the other person. “Are you Merri?” she replied. It was Dave and his wife Mary, returning from a hike. We hugged and immediately took to each other. These two have been married for 17 years, and both radiate exceptionally good kharma:

Mary & Dave Bartley, Photo by Merri Rudd, (c) 2006

The Wasatch Wiggle camp is set at 9,000′ elevation and the dance hall is up a steep hill from the Brighton Lodge. The Wasatch Mountain Club built the dark wood facility in 1921, I think, with various add-ons since then. It has low ceilings, good acoustics, a great wood floor, and two large posts down the middle of the room that scared me as I watched the dancers. No one knocked themselves unconscious dancing into the posts, I’m happy to report.

My Albuquerque friends and long-time travelling companions Melissa and Lew joined me at the Wiggle. An extra surprise: Richard Riger from Albuquerque signed up at the last minute to help Nancy from Texas gain admittance to the weekend. It was his first out-of-state camp, and he blogged about it at http://folkmadsroadtrips.blogspot.com/. Most of the other dancers hailed from Utah, with a smattering from Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Georgia.

The organizers, Brenda, Tom, Melanie, Lori, and Debbie, have created a very welcoming weekend. It’s a small camp (65 dancers) in a woodsy setting. Communal eating at long tables fosters more camaraderie than urban camps, where everyone stays at different places. Head Honcho and Chief Chef Brenda provided a variety of tasty and nutritious food–from homemade granola to burgers (and veggie burgers) cooked over open grills on the back patio–yum! Salads, homemade peach cobbler, served warm with ice cream, brownies, sweet handmade breakfast tamales, and healthy main dishes rounded out the menu.

At least 6 and maybe 10 folks were there who were also at the Maymadness weekend I co-called in Prescott, Arizona a few months earlier. This time, however, there was not a second caller with whom to share the weekend. I was the guest caller for the weekend. I called three hours Friday night, taught three workshops Saturday, including English country, then called all but one hour of the Saturday evening dance. Called the Sunday farewell dance and then taught a two-hour caller’s workshop after camp officially ended. I called lots of interesting and some complex dances, many different than my Arizona program. I couldn’t stump the dancers; they looked great! Although I did go onto the dance floor a few times to avert some confusion…

On Saturday I’m heading down the path through the woods back to my room, when a lady approaches me. “I love English!,” she beamed. “Oh? Cool. How long have you been dancing it?” I asked. “First time was your workshop just now.” Ha!!! Another one hooked. For someone who hated English dance for 20 years (me), it shocks me that I love English enough to teach it now. Joseph Pimentel, one of my English dance coaches, is “thrilled” I’m leading English dance. He loves English country dance too and has taught it much longer than I have. What was great about the Wiggle weekend is that the band really liked playing English music, some of which was 400 years old. And the dancers were enthusiastic about dancing English too, which is not always the case with contra dancers. These dancers looked elegantly English and seemed to enjoy the nuance and saucy “moments” that English country dance provides. Whoever has been leading them locally has done a great job encouraging them to embrace multiple dance forms. Huzzah to the local dance leaders!


Sande (fiddle), Dave (mandolin), Anita (piano)
Photo by Merri Rudd, (c) 2006 (if someone sends me a better photo of all of us, I’ll post it!)

The Bellows Fellows (2 accordians and a guitar) played for a few workshops and one hour of the Saturday evening dance.

Bellows Fellows and Tom’s Bass Hand, Photo by Merri Rudd, (c) 2006

I made a little movie of them playing MUSIC FOR A FOUND HARMONIUM, quite amazing. John and Dori from California taught a Scandinavian workshop. They are excellent and graceful teachers.

Eight students attended my calling workshop after the camp, a few calling for the first time ever. It was really fun! Callers don’t come to the stage to copy dance cards anymore. Instead they take a digital photo of the sheet or card for later use. I wonder if other callers have noticed this?

My favorite feedback from the camp e-evaluations was, “Merri was quite good, better than I expected. Excellent decision, hiring her! Bands were good too. And I even enjoyed the Scandinavian workshop, something I don’t usually like.” I’m happy that I can pleasantly surprise folks on occasion!

Although my throat muscles were sore for several days after, I didn’t get hoarse or have laryngitis. Sound guys were great! I will spare readers stories about music in the key of P, the hungry, hungry flies, and stumbling about in the dark looking for the trail to the lodge, while avoiding holes in the road where water flowed UNDER the road surface.

Melissa, Lew, Mark and I camped together for 3 nights afterwards in Utah. Then Melissa and Lew headed back to Albuquerque. Mark and I stayed out another week or so, camping in WY and CO. One evening we spent two hours watching a great horned owl catch, kill, eat, rest, regurgitate, drink from the river, and finally roost on a fence post, silouhetted by the setting sun. Our last morning, we encountered a mama deer and 2 spotted fawns nursing in the middle of the forest road.


Photo by Mark Justice Hinton, (c) 2006

Whether she had twins or had taken in an orphaned fawn, either way, it was breath-taking. A few hours later we arrived back to the noisy, crowded urban world.

That’s my report for now. Unfortunately, I had to turn off the “comment” function on my blog due to spammers taking advantage. But email me anytime with comments, and I’ll be happy to post them.

Merri Rudd
merri@merridancing.com
www.merridancing.com

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