by Steve Howe, Assistant Director of Programs
A new week
We are pleased to announce a new week at Pinewoods Camp next summer, July 23-30, 2011. The Harmony of Song and Dance will be a week for singers who like to dance and dancers who like to sing.The tentative program includes traditional and contemporary songs, harmony singing by ear, choral singing from written music, instrumental music, contra and square dancing for all, a morris dance intensive, and a music teachers intensive. Peter and Mary Alice Amidon will be program directors. More information will be on our website as it becomes available, and registration will begin in January. Join us for this week of singing, dancing and music-making!
Here are next summer’s dates and program chairs for our main weeks; special courses and intensives will be announced later. An informational poster will be mailed around March 1.
OGONTZ, Lyman, NH
PINEWOODS, Plymouth, MA
TIMBER RIDGE, High View, WV
Each year we need help running our summer dance and music camps. If one of the following jobs appeal to you, write to Steve Howe, CDSS Office, PO Box 338, Haydenville, MA 01039 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sound system operators are needed at all weeks, with compensation ranging from full scholarship to paid staff, depending on the session. Office positions are available at Pinewoods, from July 16-September 3, at Timber Ridge from August 13-21, and at Ogontz from July 30-August 6. In exchange for full scholarships, we need lifeguards with CPR/First Aid certificates for all sessions, dining hall managers for all sessions, and a doctor or nurse for Family and Campers’ weeks. Some full scholarships are also available at Ogontz for kitchen and/or grounds work and some evening monitoring of sleeping children. In exchange for partial scholarships, we need assistant lifeguards and evening monitors for all Family and Campers’ weeks.
Newsletter Going Online
When the trees start budding out here again in a few months, we expect to bud out too in a new way - the CDSS News will go online in 2011, probably with the Spring issue. The paper copy, except for a four-page preview mailed to those members without Internet access, will no longer be printed.
The online newsletter will be for everyone who’s interested, CDSS members and nonmembers alike (something we can’t afford to do with paper). As of now, we expect to keep the quarterly publication schedule although some deadlines, especially for ads, may change. We regret the loss of the paper edition, but are excited by the idea of expanding our technical horizons, widening our readership, and being a stronger support for our traditional dance and music community. With the CDSS centennial only five years away (see below), we’re taking another step toward our future.
We’re in the planning stages now for the online newsletter, so if there’s something you’ve always wanted to see in it, send your ideas to email@example.com.
The next CDSS Outreach Grant deadline is October 1. Guidelines and applications are here. Those planning projects and events beyond the northeastern U.S. are especially encouraged to apply.
Calling all dance organizers, callers, musicians and dancers who help the music and dance world go ‘round! Don't miss the Southeast Dance Leadership Conference on October 1-3, 2010 near Greensboro and Raleigh/Durham, NC.
Participants are coming from thirteen states coast-to-coast! Don't miss this inspiring and fun opportunity to gather with kindred spirits, hone skills, gain new perspectives, network... AND enjoy some dancing. Learn more and register. This event is cosponsored by Triangle Country Dancers and Sun Assembly English Country Dancers, with support from CDSS.
Summer Fundraising for CDSS Scholarships and Special Programs
Running and sustaining our Scholarship Program is one of the most far-reaching and meaningful things we do as an organization! Each year, dozens of individuals and families receive scholarships to attend our camp programs, leadership training at camp, and even other groups’ camps. Scholarship recipients’ presence at camp immeasurably enriches our experience, and represents our investment in the future of this very special community.
In 2010, we awarded nearly $40,000 in scholarships, and could have given more had we had more applicants! The generosity of many, many campers -- who donated items or services and/or bid generously at the auction, or who simply made an outright donation while at camp -- has sustained CDSS’s Scholarships and Special Projects program over the past 25 years and more.
More recently, the New Leaders, Good Leaders initiative allowed us to boost our scholarship awards -- as well as grants to groups and individuals for musicians’, callers’, and organizers’ workshops, regional leadership conferences, mentorships, publications, online resources, youth and intergenerational participation development, and other special projects -- dramatically. In order to sustain this work at this level, we asked our 2010 campers for increased support -- and we got it! Our heartfelt thanks to friends who supported Scholarships and Special Projects with their generous gifts this summer.
New Online Publications
We continue to add to our online library -- just click on Publications to see the current list. The newest additions are Patrick E. Napier’s Kentucky Mountain Square Dancing, and the complete dance library of Charles Bolton. The next anticipated splash will be made in early 2011 when the transcribed and annotated diaries of Cecil Sharp’s Appalachian journeys will go online at EFDSS and CDSS.
Patrick Napier’s Kentucky Mountain Square Dancing was written in 1949 and is based both on his experience dancing at home in Perry County, eastern Kentucky, and teaching those dances while he was a student at Berea College in the mid-1940s. Cecil Sharp in his book, The Kentucky Running Set (1917), surmised that the Kentucky dances were precursors to the Playford English dances, and were imported to North America in the 18th century by English immigrants. Napier’s book includes eighteen Big Set figures and six Running Set figures. Each dance has a call, with explanations and illustrations for each figure. The book is in PDF file format.
CDSS is very proud to provide a place for the lasting legacy of Charles Bolton’s work. Bolton is well known both as an interpreter of 17th- and 18th-century English dances and as a talented choreographer in his own right. His interpretive work was self-published (1985-2003) as the Retreads series (Volumes 1-9). Each volume contains music, facsimile original, interpretation, and notes for each of ten dances. His original work is in nine volumes, starting with The Optimist (1982) and ending with Round Robin (2005). Dances, with music, include The Ashford Anniversary, Mrs. Pomeroy’s Pavane, and Beechen Grove’s New Hall, among many others. Each dance is a separate PDF file, and is indexed by volume and title.
CDSS has joined with EFDSS to make the diaries of Cecil Sharp’s song collecting trips accessible online. From 1915 to 1918, Sharp and Maud Karpeles collected 1600 songs in the mountains during four trips to North America. Facsimiles of the pages of Sharp’s diaries are currently online at the English Dance and Song Society’s website. The new project, which is being funded by members of the Langstaff family and is dedicated to the memories of John (Jack) Langstaff and Maud Karpeles, will transcribe and annotate the diaries, for publication online in early 2011. Those interested in learning more about Sharp’s song collecting should read Dear Companion, published by EFDSS, and carried in the CDSS Store.
by Nils Fredland, Publications Coordinator for American Dance
When the last CDSS email newsblast reached your inbox, we here at the office were looking forward to two CDSS sponsored events focused on traditional square dancing; the Squareball in Montpelier, VT, and the square dance party to celebrate the release of our newest publication, On the Beat with Ralph Sweet, in Greenfield, MA. The events did indeed happen, both during the last weekend in June.
The dances were well organized, thanks to Will Mentor and Nils Fredland. Those who attended offered their enthusiastic support of traditional squares, and danced with great gusto! The music and calling were excellent, thanks to Pete Sutherland, Jim Burns, Ethan Hazzard-Watkins, Owen Morrison, Corey DiMario, Lee Blackwell, Anna Patton, Jesse Hazzard-Watkins, Ann Percival, Will Mentor, Nils Fredland, Tony Parkes, Ralph Sweet, and a host of guest callers. The feedback from all who were involved was so positive that the next Squareball is already in the works for Spring of 2011…details coming soon.
If you are a square enthusiast (or simply square-curious…) and weren’t able to make it to these exciting dances, you’re in luck! David Millstone attended both events with his full arsenal of video equipment, and captured some amazing footage; soundman Rick Barrows also made an audio recording of the music and calling at the Squareball. Check out our website to view some of David’s videos, and to hear a “Best of the Squareball” compilation taken from Rick’s audio recording. It’s the next best thing to being there!
On the Beat with Ralph Sweet has been a steady seller since its release in May. Reviews have been excellent.
On the Beat is going global, too, with recent orders from Australia, Denmark and England! We are excited to witness such an enthusiastic response to our most recent publication; we are particularly happy to provide a resource that supports the ever-increasing interest in traditional American square dancing.
Beth Molaro, a NC caller considered by Ralph Sweet to be one of the best modern day practitioners of traditional patter style square dance calling, says: “Get your copy of On the Beat with Ralph Sweet! I got mine, and it is fabulous…if you’ve ever thought about calling squares, this is a good book to have!” The book is available from the CDSS Store.
The next project for CDSS Publications is a companion booklet to both On the Beat with Ralph Sweet, and Ralph’s excellent CD recording of singing squares “Shindig in the Barn.”
Starting with the basic square dance calling skills presented in On the Beat the booklet provides study material to help callers begin to acquire the more subtle skills that set Ralph apart as a master caller of singing squares. From the introduction:
“This booklet is the print representation of the material on Ralph’s CD recording ‘Shindig in the Barn,’ (available through the CDSS Store), and is intended as a companion to the CD. The booklet and CD together were inspired by a celebration that took place in February of 2004 with the dance community in Greenfield, MA. Ralph is featured on the recording, calling the figures for twelve of his most popular singing squares, backed by an all-star cast of New England dance musicians playing musical arrangements by Bill Tomczak. ‘Shindig’ goes a long way towards capturing the music, calling, and energy of that February night; this booklet takes a step further by providing exact transcriptions of Ralph’s calls, along with Bill’s three-part musical arrangements.”
(NOTE: One of the tracks from “Shindig” is on the Current Playlist section of our website through September.)
“Dance to the Music and Listen to the Calls: The square dances and calling of Jerry Goodwin” -- During the mid 1980’s, Larry Edelman was collecting square dances from callers throughout western Pennsylvania.
He received a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to apprentice with a master caller of traditional squares named Jerry Goodwin. Larry is also a videographer, and documented his time by capturing footage of Jerry calling at local live music square dances in towns such as Prosperity and West Middletown. The resulting documentary film is a fascinating and entertaining look at the integral role that traditional square dancing plays in the social life of small towns such as these, and features interviews with Jerry and some of his regular dancers. Particularly useful to callers as a superior example of patter style square dance calling, this video will also appeal to any square dance enthusiast. Check it out!
“Square Dance Double Feature” -- Also from Larry Edelman, this double feature combines his own short film entitled “Yee Haw! – A Curious Glimpse of the History of Square Dancing,” with “Square Dancing,” the 1951 short film released by the national square dance magazine, Sets in Order. Read Larry’s descriptions of the films below:
“Yee Haw!” is a fun, quirky, informative, and affectionate motion picture that presents images and associations with square dancing as portrayed in historical, non-theatrical moving pictures. Footage includes enlightening scenes and re-enactments of square dancing and square dance music, but also images attesting to how square dancing has been such a strong thread in the fabric of American culture.
“Square Dancing” is a 16 mm motion picture that was produced and directed by Bob Osgood with cinematography by Joe Fadler in 1951. The film is entertaining and historically instructive, and it demonstrates the fun and fundamentals of the traditional western square dancing of the mid-twentieth century. It shows people of all ages square dancing in the colorful costumes of the day, to fine calling and spirited square dance music.
Both the Jerry Goodwin documentary and the Square Dance Double Feature are available on DVD at the CDSS Store.
Max on Facebook
Follow Max Newman, the CDSS Youth Intern, on Facebook
The release of a secure, searchable Members'
Directory accessible to current
members logged on to the web site is imminent! Not only will you be able to find other
members' contact info online, but you'll be able to update your own contact
information and adjust your privacy settings (for instance, choose to show only
your email address, or email and street address but not phone).
Because this is a major change, and in order to protect members' privacy, existing members MUST OPT IN in order to share your contact information! All members should have received a form in the mail asking you to check your preferences and mail it back to us. You must mail this form back to us or email the requested information or you will not be listed in the online Members’ Directory!
If you did not receive this mailing please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to have it mailed or emailed to you. (This is also the best way to request your login information if you have lost track of it) Member logins will be confirmed via email when the list goes live.If you’re not currently a member of CDSS – here’s a really good reason to join! The members directory is a really huge network of people who love dance, music, and song. As a member, you’ll be a part of this network: you’ll be able to find and contact other members, and they will be able to find and contact you!
The ability to search – by state or city, by first or last name, for example – and to be up-to-the-minute current are wonderful features, and make the online version more usable in many ways than the print version. However, we know that many people really just want a paper copy to carry around with them, and we will work towards making a print friendly version available.
A new, up-to-date, online Group Directory is in the works.
Like past printed editions, the online version will include all the English and Anglo-American traditional dance, music, and song groups we know about. Once the information is up, groups will be able to add and update their own information. In the meanwhile, online links to our Group Affiliates are available now.
Five years from now, CDSS will be celebrating its -- ta da! -- one hundredth birthday.
In 1915, a group of people inspired by the work of English folklorist Cecil Sharp gathered in Boston, Chicago, New York and Pittsburgh to form the “American branches” of the English Folk Dance Society which Sharp had founded in 1911. Now we’re our own organization, with our own branches and a greatly expanded program. Our commitment to English country dance has remained strong throughout these ninety-five years, strengthened by our equal commitment to contras, squares, morris and sword, and traditional song and music, and in 2015 we, the Country Dance and Song Society, with as many people as possible joining in, will be celebrating these superb traditions with events throughout the USA and elsewhere. We will honor our centennial by celebrating our history, increasing opportunities for participation in dance, music and song, and building a strong foundation for future generations. Committees to handle the various centennial projects will be forming over the next year or two; we’ll let you know when. Start looking for your party hats!
The next newsletter, coming out in October, will include articles about Maple Morris’s growth, Baltimore’s annual Thanksgiving dance.
Lifetime Contributor John Ramsay, the 2010 Governing Board meeting, advice for beginners on becoming a great dancer, and two balls (one in the Virginia, one in Texas), plus a book review, our regular Yoga for Dancers and Tell Me More columns, events, goodies from the store, two dances, and a helpful event planning worksheet.
With the holidays coming up, how about giving someone a year’s membership? You support our work, plus the new or renewing member gets certain benefits like first crack at registering for our summer programs, opportunity to apply for outreach grants, and access to our new online Members List. Join today!