Archive for December, 2006

Snow Day

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

From our house to yours…wishing you the happiest of holidays!

Taken moments ago, December 19, 2006, 3:15 p.m., Albuquerque

Speaking of snow, check out the oh-so-clever “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” at If that link won’t work for you, try

A Splendid Celebration!

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

The 100 or so musicans and dancers who attended last night’s music and dance party at the Heights know what a fine, festive, food-filled and fun-filled evening it was. Merri called her favorite dances over the past 15 years, including Karen & Greg Tie the Knot, Trip to Phan Reel, M.A.D. About Dancing, and Chuck the Budgie. Ken Cooper called two dances, which allowed Merri to dance with her hubby Mark. The Megaband added the old-time versions of Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas (did you know it was a waltz?!) to their repertoire. We still had two lines of dancers at the end of the night, and many of them were seen smiling all evening in their holiday finery. A smorgasbord of food and drinks lined the entire wall of the other room.

We would love for you to share your music and dance memories (recent or distant), thoughts, good wishes, stories, and/or reflections about last night, etc. by posting a comment on this blog entry (scroll to bottom of this post to comment). To you who shared food and drinks, played rowdy dance tunes, danced beautifully, cheered enthusiastically at each announcement, and recorded the event, THANK YOU! from all your hosts and hostesses: Merri, Melissa, Lew, Bob, Nancy, Ken, Michele, Kelly and Gina.

For those who were unable to attend, here are the anniversaries and occasions we celebrated:

Merri Rudd, 15th anniversary as a caller (called her first whole dance on December 7, 1991 at Lloyd Shaw with Megaband playing).
Melissa Wilson & Lew Suber, 15th anniversary as a couple. (Their 2nd date was at that 1st dance Merri called. Melissa, who was the caller scheduler at that time, hired Merri.)

Here’s Melissa & Lew dancing on December 16th

Bob & Nancy Ford, 15th wedding anniversary is Dec. 31, 2006, and Merri forgot to mention this last night, so sorry! Bob’s been our ace sound guy for years.
Michele Von Boeck & Ken Cooper eloped during our thrift store prom at the 14th annual FolkMADness Camp in Socorro on May 28, 2006. Merri officiated.
Kelly Kellstedt & Gina Jenner eloped the next evening, May 29, 2006, in Anita Shenkman’s backyard, Eva Ceskava officiating.

Karen & Greg, the 1st folk couple to be married by Merri; Michele & Ken; Merri; Gina & Kelly

Honoring the Award-Winning Megaband, who has played for our dances for free for 30 years. We gave them “awards,” which we hope they can wear for years to come. Fiddler Jane Phillips helped Merri figure out all their names.

Megaband members making merry music!

Honorees’ hand-crafted “awards”

It was also Dennis Vik’s birthday on December 17. He is only slightly older than 15.

That’s my brief report on the evening. Look forward to reading folkies’ comments on this blog!

Merri Rudd

December 2006 Folk Enews

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

Well, Folkies,

Happy Holidays to All!

It appears that I’m being lured back into the folk enews biz. Those of you who were at the Saturday dance in Albuquerque with Jamie Gans and David Margolin playing know what a fine fiddler Jamie is. (David is too, for that matter!) But the rowdiness of dance sometimes overshadows the beauty of the music. You get another few chances to sit and listen or to dance and listen to Jamie’s fiddle.

Albuquerque House Concert, Thursday, Dec. 7
House Concert: Jamie Gans & Tamara Loewenthal (she’ll provide the ‘foot percussion’)
Date & Time: Thursday, December 7, 2006, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Phyllis Taylor/Bruce Thomson residence, 1018 Idlewilde SE, Albuquerque, NM (take their phone number in case you can’t find it!)
Cost: $10/person
Contact: Bruce Thomson (268-6003) or

Santa Fe Jamie & Tamara Fest Too, Dec. 9!
This coming Saturday, December 9, Fiddle’n’Feet, composed of fiddler Jamie Gans and caller and dancer Tamara Loewenthal, are again visiting Santa Fe. They’ll host two workshops:

— Dance workshop from 3 to 4:30: In the dance workshop, Tamara will focus on flatfooting/clogging and waltz clog. Flatfooting will be done to Old Time music and waltz clog to a waltz tempo.

— Music workshop from 4:30 to 5:30: Jamie will focus on Irish and French Canadian fiddle music, taking into account the preferences of those present. Other instruments are presumably welcome.

Each workshop will cost $15, and both will be held at the Odd Fellows Hall, 1125 Cerrillos Road, across from the Highway Department building. For more information, contact Jamie at, or Tamara at, or call them on their cell phone at 812-219-1890. And visit their website at

Then you can dance that evening (teaching/orientation at 7:30, dance from 8 to 11 p.m.) with calling by Tamara and music by Jamie and Santa Fe’s own locally energetic Mark Sardella.

Tamara Loewenthal has been performing and teaching various styles of American and Celtic step dance for over 20 years. A founding member of the nationally acclaimed dance company Rhythm in Shoes, she has toured across the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Japan. She regularly calls square and contra dances for groups around the country and teaches step dance classes in Bloomington, and workshops wherever she goes.

Jamie Gans came to Indiana from St. Paul, Minnesota, where he had established himself as one of the foremost fiddlers in the Northern Midwest. Adept at a variety of fiddle styles, Jamie has performed with some of the great players in Irish, Canadian, and Old Time music. In 1993, he was named a Master Artist by the Minnesota State Arts Board and Historical Society for the Folk Arts Apprenticeship program. In 1994 he and Sam Bartlett played at Merri’s 40th b-day party in Albuquerque! In 1995, Jamie joined forces with Tamara, exploring traditional music, song, and dance in depth. His love of history, combined with his soulful playing, bring the music alive in every setting.

While I’m at it, I may as well mention….

Second Sunday Dance, Dec. 10, Albuquerque
Richard Wilson will call elegant English country and zesty contra dances; music by Gemma on fiddle and Della on piano. 7:00 – 9:30 p.m., Heights Community Center, 823 Buena Vista SE (1 block east of University, south of Lead/Coal). Members $6; nonmembers $7. Bring clean dance shoes. No shoes with nails or that leave black scuff marks, please. Clean dance shoes and tennis shoes OK.

Albuquerque Megaband Practice, Dec. 12
Join the Megaband in a jam at the Blue Dragon, 1517 Girard NE, Albuquerque, 7:30-10:30 p.m. More info: Bruce Thomson, 277-4729.

Big Celebration Dance, Dec. 16, Albuquerque
Merri Rudd calling her 15th anniversary dance with guest Ken Cooper to the hot old-time tunes of the award-winning 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. Megafood provided too!! But feel free to bring a snack to share. And dress up all sparkly and fun if you wish.

Taos Contra Dance, Saturday, Dec. 16
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). Richard Wilson calling, Taos ContraBand playing.

Santa Fe Contra, Sat., Dec. 23
Start working off those holiday calories! Open Mic dance calling and TBA band playing. 8 p.m. -11 p.m., IOOF Hall, 1125 Cerrillos Rd. Instruction at 7:30 p.m. $6 members, $7 others.

English Dance, Santa Fe, Dec. 30
Richard Wilson calling, Santa Fe Community Band playing English tunes. 8 p.m. -11 p.m., IOOF Hall, 1125 Cerrillos Rd. Instruction at 7:30 p.m. $6 members, $7 others.

Fun on the web
Someone posted a video from Arizona’s MayMadness 2006 dance weekend. You can see/hear the Privy Tippers playing and watch Joli Sharp, Linda Starr, Bob Cornish and a bunch of Arizonans and Californians dance the DEVIL’S BACKBONE at

Condolences to John and Erika on the loss of their beloved dog Pinto, who loved lying at the musicians’ feet during band practice and was sweeter than pie.

Merri Rudd
Albuquerque, NM