Beverly Francis (Metuchen, NJ) started dancing in Philadelphia in 1974 while on a brief stint studying at Philadelphia College of Textiles. She soon was back home in the NY/NJ area dancing up a storm. English country, contras, morris (Ring o’ Bells) and longsword (New World Sword) were all on the menu. She started calling both contras and English in the late 70’s and these days has settled in as a caller of English country dance in New York where she has emceed many Country Dance New York Playford Balls and mentors apprentice callers. Her forays out into the world beyond metropolitan New York have included staff positions at Pinewoods (Campers’ Week, Early Music Week, and English Dance Week) as well as weekend workshops on the East Coast and beyond.
Beverly worked at the CDSS office when it was in NYC and served a term of the Executive Committee in the early 80’s. She met her husband, David Chandler, dancing in New York City. They have been dance partners for more than 40 years and attended many CDSS family programs with their son. She is retired from a career in public and school libraries, where she taught colonial era dance to fourth graders, even getting them to take hands sometimes. She now puts her read-aloud skills to use with her grandsons.
Peter Baker (Ann Arbor, MI) began square dancing in 7th grade in Bay County, MI. He was introduced to contra and ECD in the early 1980’s, and within six weeks was attending Kentucky Summer Dance School and Berea Christmas Country Dance School. He began leading dances because there was no dancing within 100 miles of where he lived. He later became staff for Kentucky Heritage Institute dance camps. Peter leads contra and community dancing. He believes dancing is for everyone and has lead numerous events for “non dancers”, including organizing the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records “Longest Contra Line” in Ann Arbor. He leads dances in schools, churches, street festivals, and wherever he is invited to share this passion. He has been an active organizer and leader in the Ann Arbor Community for Traditional Music and Dance.
Peter has also been organizing folk events since the mid-1980’s, starting with the Dow Gardens Folk Festival in Midland, and has been a co-founder of several organizations and events including the Midland Country Dance Society (1984), the Michigan Dance Heritage organization (1987), Dancing in the Streets in Ann Arbor (1998), and most recently, the new CDSS Dance, Music and Spice Camp at Camp Cavell (2016) in Michigan.
Susie Lorand (Ann Arbor, MI) has been a CDSS member for most of her adult life. She had few opportunities for dancing before college, but pursued classical violin training in central Michigan and at Interlochen Arts Academy. Then the student folk musicians at Earlham College decided to “corrupt” her into a fiddler.
Later she spent many years in the central New Jersey and Philadelphia dance communities, playing for English, contra, colonial, morris, and sword dancing (when not dancing herself). Leadership roles there included coordinating the Princeton Country Dancers pick-up band, co-directing Rum & Onions, serving on the PCD executive committee and the Lambertville Country Dancers board, and writing the PCD Newsletter.
Susie has appeared on the music staff of dance weeks at Pinewoods, Buffalo Gap, and Berea, and numerous weekends and festivals. Now in Ann Arbor, she performs with the “Celtic roots” band Nutshell, directs music for Scottish dancing, plays for English, contra, and morris, co-directs the local Threshold Choir, serves on the AACTMAD board, and dreams of getting back into Renaissance music for voices and recorders. She enjoys welcoming and helping new dancers of all ages as well as mentoring musicians. In her spare time she works as an editor and librarian.
Natty is now pursuing a career in education in the Boston area. The current Squire of the Pinewoods Morris Men, he also fiddles for and facilitates the teenage team Great Meadows Morris and Sword. Dancing and fiddling for the youth Morris conglomerate Maple Morris, he travelled with them to London, England and the Sidmouth Folk Festival in 2011 as part of a collaboration with the English Morris troupe Morris Offspring. He is on the planning committee for the second half of this collaboration between Maple and Offspring, here in North America in the summer of 2013. Natty is part of the founding committee for the new Youth Traditional Song Weekend event, and is beginning his first term on the Pinewoods Camp, Inc. Board of Directors.