2011 Lifetime Contribution Award

We are pleased to announce that caller and author Bob Dalsemer of Brasstown, NC is this year's recipient of CDSS's Lifetime Contribution Award; we'll have event details later. Congratulations, Bob!

CDSS Leadership Transition

Last month, when we wrote you about the change in our CDSS leadership, we promised to keep you updated on how the Board is proceeding during the transition.

We appointed a transition task group composed of staff, community and Board members to identify and coordinate key activities for the CDSS executive transition. Chaired by Debbie Jackson, recent Board member, the task group met with Third Sector New England (TSNE), a nonprofit focused on capacity-building which specializes in executive transitions for nonprofit organizations. The Board determined that the best strategy for CDSS was to utilize both an interim director and a transition consultant while we identify the kind of leadership model and traits we need for the future of CDSS.

The transition task group worked through TSNE to identify candidates for interim director and conducted interviews to select the individual who will step in for the coming months. We selected Marie Dalton-Meyer to fill this role; her primary work will be to oversee the day-to-day operations of CDSS, ensuring ongoing success, to help facilitate an office move to a new space, and to prepare the staff for a new executive director. Marie brings more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and board service with extensive experience in development, marketing and communications.

Judy Freiwirth, Psy.D., is facilitating the transition process for the organization, including helping to prepare us for a successful transition, conducting an organizational assessment, helping CDSS set its strategic directions for the future, determining other organizational development needs, assisting with board development, assisting in the hiring process for the new Executive Director, and providing support for the new Executive Director and the organization during the post-hire phase. Judy is nationally known for her 30 years of consulting to nonprofits, especially in the area of organizational and executive transition.

The transition task group and the Board plan to provide multiple opportunities for CDSS members from all regions and interests to share ideas, aspirations and thoughts about the future of the organization.

At the recent CDSS Annual Board Meeting, the Board wished Brad farewell, expressed their appreciation of his long service and many accomplishments, and honored him with the title Executive and Artistic Director Emeritus.

Thank You

Members and friends -- heartfelt thanks from the office staff for all the calls, emails and other messages of support for CDSS and our work going forward. Additional thanks to those who have increased their membership gift this Spring, or sent a gift to underscore your support.

Special thanks to the Governing Board for their demonstration of support. To underscore their strategic planning work at last month's Board meeting, President Bruce Hamilton issued a challenge to the Board. Noting that momentum is critical during this time of change and that he cares deeply about the work of the Society, Bruce offered to match Board members' immediate donations to CDSS, up to $5,000. I am delighted to report that the Board met and exceeded Bruce's generous challenge, stepping up with a total of more than $11,000.

And finally, thanks to those of you who have let us know your concerns. Your perspectives and feelings are as important as ever, and we are always glad to hear from you. Please stay in touch!

Pack Up Your Bags and Come to Camp

Some weeks are full, but fear not! There's space at others and registration isn't over until it's over -- see 2011 Summer Programs for week availability.

Of particular note:

Join us at Pinewoods, near Plymouth, MA, this summer to embrace an old friend, Folk Music Week, who's returning as a new friend, Harmony of Song and Dance, July 23-30. This is a week for singers who like to dance and dancers who like to sing, and it will feature lots of singing -- African-American work songs, civil rights songs and spirituals; farming and seasonal songs; English, Canadian and Appalachian ballads; pub songs; sea shanties; gospel; and shape note (whew!) -- and lots of dancing -- English country (led by Brad Foster), contras and squares (Nils Fredland), and beginning contras and English (Peter Amidon). And then there's all that music -- in the pavilions, under the trees, and lifting up into the air. For a look at the daily schedule and to see who else is on staff, click on the link above.

And our unique Adult and Family Week, August 14-21 at our southernmost camp, Timber Ridge in High View, WV, features a broad English and American dance program for adults, featuring contra and English country, Appalachian clogging, North West morris, and rapper sword, as well as a full program for families. Adults can dance and sing in their classes all day, while children enjoy age-appropriate dance and music sessions. Plus there are nature walks, swimming, canoeing, hanging out with friends, eating, snoozing, more dancing and singing for the older teens and adults, not to mention show-and-tell and the big parade at week's end. If you're just a kid, you need to be accompanied to the week by an adult, but if you're just an adult, you don't need a kid in tow. See the link above for schedule and staff details.

NOTE: Scholarship aid also is still available. I hope you will join us.

We Don't Have a West Coast Program, but...

...we're co-sponsoring an English Dance Musicians' Course at Bay Area CDS's Hey Days English Dance and Music Week in northern California, August 21-28. It's full, but in case someone cancels and you're out that way, see BACDS's Hey Days webpage.

Back on the East Coast

Breaking news! We're on the verge of launching the website for Puttin' on the Dance -- A Conference for Northeast Dance Organizers. CDSS is cosponsoring this exciting event to be held on November 11-13 in White River Junction, VT.

The weekend will bring together dance organizers to learn new skills, offer mutual support, talk shop, dance and have fun! So if you organize a dance series (contra, English, square, gender role free, community, family, etc.) in northeastern US or Canada and want to find out more about this event, check our website or contact Chrissy Fowler, Delia Clark and Linda Henry at nedanceorgs@gmail.com or 207-338-0979.

Planning a music- or dance-related event or project? CDSS can help with funding, logistical support, etc. Our next quarterly grant deadline is July 1. To apply, see Grants & Support. Questions? Contact Linda Henry at linda@cdss.org or 413-268-7426 x 105. Note: We're especially interested in supporting events/projects in regions beyond northeastern US.

Square Dance Resources

I am thrilled to announce the launch of the CDSS Square Dance Resources web guide. The resource pages will be of interest to anyone, from the square-curious individual to the seasoned square dance caller, with a desire to learn more about American square dancing.

On the Beat with Ralph Sweet

I'm very busy getting new booklets ready for the Bookstore at our camps. Be sure to stop by at Pinewoods, Ogontz and Timber Ridge to see what we publish, and carry.

It's been a year since our big book release shindig for On the Beat with Ralph Sweet. It was a great dance and occasion to honor Ralph's contributions to the art of the singing square. We are excited that the book has found a wide audience and have just ordered a second printing. We made a few corrections.

News Items

The CDSS News will continue to be paper-printed as we relook at its online future, and we're discussing printing a new members directory as well. Later in the year, we'll be reviewing how best to publish the group directory online and/or in print. Thank you for your letters and emails about these periodicals.

In the meanwhile, the Summer issue of the newsletter, coming out in July, will include the following articles: "Traditional Dance for Soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," by Deborah Denenfeld; "Yoga for Dancers--Some Esoterica on Why We Do This," by Anna Rain, "News from Canada--Dancing in Newfoundland," by Noreen MacLennan (accompanied by a dance and tune), "Tony and Keith 'On the Banks of Coldbrook'--100 Years of Atwood Family Songs from the Hills of Dover," by Tony Barrand; plus a report about the recent Board meeting, and more.

Seeking new CDSS President and Board members

Bruce Hamilton's term as President ends in May of 2012, after six years of service. Who should be the next person in this important position? Nominations for President should be sent to Bev Bernbaum. We are also soliciting nominations to fill several upcoming vacancies for members at large on the Governing Board. If you have candidates to suggest, please contact the Nominating Committee chairman, David Millstone.

At its annual meeting in May, the CDSS Governing Board appointed Linda Maguire as Treasurer to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of Rhonda Beckman due to other commitments. According to the CDSS Bylaws, Linda may serve until the next annual election, in 2012. If renominated and approved at that time, she will complete the current Treasurer's term, until 2013. Linda has been serving on the Finance Committee this past year and she brings a strong financial background to the position. However, there may be other good candidates and the Nominating Committee is open to your suggestions.

We request that all nominations reach us by the end of June. Please describe your candidates in several paragraphs, describing what they do in the world of traditional music, dance, and song, how to contact them, and what skills they bring to the position. All members of the Board must be CDSS members.

Seeking a Summer Office Intern

We are seeking a motivated individual for our summer dance and song office intern program.

The intern will work closely with the staff on projects capitalizing on their interests and skills. Areas of responsibility may include archives, sales, membership and services, web and social networking outreach, and dance and music camps. This is an excellent opportunity for meaningful, hands on experience with a national nonprofit while supporting English and Anglo-American dance and music traditions including contra, English country, and morris/sword dancing.


  • Internships may be full-time or part-time and take place between May 15th and August 31st.
  • Individual must be able to commit to being in the office in Haydenville, MA at least ten hours/week for at least four weeks. Exact schedule is flexible.
  • Individual should be passionate about the communities we serve.
  • This is an unpaid internship, though we are happy to assist you in receiving college credit.

To apply or make an inquiry, please contact the CDSS office: office@cdss.org.

Other opportunities

If you are seeking an internship during the school-year, please email office@cdss.org.
CDSS welcomes volunteer help. If you are interested, please email volunteer@cdss.org

Upcoming Events

CDSS has an online list of Upcoming Events around the country -- balls, festivals, workshops, weeks and weekends. Check it out when you're traveling.

CDSS Blog and Facebook

On a coffee break every now and then? See what we're up to on Facebook and on our blog. Recent blog posts include Photos from the 2011 Board Meeting and the entertaining Periodic Table of Contra.

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