Monthly Archives: June 2012

20 tables of 8 Celebration at Pinewoods

CDSS camp

Scene from camp (photo by Sarah Pilzer)

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has been to a CDSS session at Pinewoods in the last 20 years, that the camp is a special place for me and my family. Meg, Ruth, Sam and I were all at the recent celebration of the rebuilt kitchen: “Twenty Tables of Eight.” It was a very nice event with representation from the four user groups, pond neighbors and former crew. We were entertained by an Early Music wind ensemble, a morris team and a longsword team, each boasting at least one Pinewoods board member. After the very nice dinner and a fun and successful auction, we went to C# for a mix of Scottish, English, American and International dances. Most of us were bumbling beginners at some part of the evening, but we all jumped in and had a great time. This was a wonderful coming together of the various communities that all use and love Pinewoods Camp.
With the reworked kitchen and dining area, there will be some earth-shifting changes for us to get used to:

  • There is a large serving window between the kitchen and the serving area of the dining hall so only the crew and the dishwashers will enter the kitchen at all; the rest of us don’t need to know about IN and OUT doors.
  • The bell is in a cupola with a bell pull ending in a wooden handle that I just brush my head on; harder for kids to ring unassisted (aw shucks), not deafening to those already in line, audible from further away, and useless in shushing a chatty dining hall to cue announcements and/or dessert time. Time for a new cue: Bosun’s whistle? Hand bell? I guess I will stick with: “Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen and Welcome to …” and look for Dining Hall managers with a good set of lungs!
  • The line of people delivering dishes and leftovers to the dish window will not block the exit; we will have to find other places and excuses to stop and chat with each other.

Beyond those jolts to our habits, I think we will all recognize the place, the great food, the refreshing swims, the starlit nights, and, above all else, the friends, new and old, gathered for the dancing, singing, and music making.

If you are not already registered to a CDSS week at camp and scheduled to experience these delights, there is still space at 5 of the Pinewoods weeks as well as at Timber Ridge. Come join us for English and/or American dance, singing and music making from across the centuries.

~ Steve Howe

Office Visitors

Hello Friends,

This Wednesday, June 13, we welcomed more visitors to the CDSS office — former CDSS Board Treasurer Rachel Winslow and her husband Peter from PA. Rachel graciously took some photos of our office space that I’d like to share with you. It was wonderful to talk to them both, and Peter had a nice shopping excursion at our store. And here’s a photo of me preparing for our executive committee meeting at the end of the month.

Thanks to Rachel & Peter for dropping by, for shopping, and for sending the lovely pictures.

Be well,

Rima :)

The Eastworks entry

Overhead office shot

Peter, shopping!

Rima, deep in thought

Nonprofit Day at the State House

Massachusetts State HouseThis past Monday in Massachusetts was the state-wide Nonprofit Day. The event was hosted by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) and held in the Great Hall at the State House in Boston. Senate President Therese Murray and Speaker Robert DeLeo were keynote speakers and it was a pleasure to meet Representative Liz Malia, who is part of the MA Bi-Partisan Nonprofit Caucus. I had a delightful conversation with Amherst Representative Ellen Story, talking about our work… in a nutshell, she’s excited to be invited to a dance, she was thrilled hear about CDSS. Before she ran off to a meeting she said “wouldn’t the world be a better place if had made time for more music and dance?” I spoke to MNN Executive Director, Rick Jackious, and Esther Hanig, Deputy Director, about CDSS and our upcoming Centennial celebration. And I had a nice conversation with Jonathan Spack, Executive Director of Third Sector New England, who helped CDSS through its executive transition. I thanked Jonathan for their assistance and gave them feedback on the process CDSS went through.

I had high hopes that Governor Deval Patrick would be there, as I had told the staff I’d get my picture taken with him. But alas, he couldn’t make it. Many of our other representatives were in district on Monday, so I was unable to meet with them. But it was a great day to meet nonprofits from around the Commonwealth and talk to some elected leaders about the importance for funding for the arts and our grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

~ Rima

Greetings from Rima

Dudley Laufman and Rima Dael

Dudley Laufman and Rima Dael at the Shaping Our Heritage Traditional Arts Conference, June 9, 2012 Photo credit: Pat MacPherson

This past Saturday, Pat MacPherson, Mary Wesley, and I attended the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Traditional Arts Conference in Concord, NH. I had some great conversations with Barry Bergey, Director of Folk and Traditional Arts at the National Endowment for the Arts; Lynn Martin Graton, Acting Director & Traditional Arts Coordinator; Catherine O’Brian, Arts in Education & Arts in Health Care Coordinator from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts; and Bill Ross, Head of Special Collections at University of New Hampshire (where our collections are).

I also met several luminaries from the New Hampshire contra dance community, including fiddler Rodney Miller and his wife Jane, and two CDSS Lifetime Contribution Award recipients, Bob McQuillen and Dudley Laufman! Whew. It was a thought-provoking day, ending with a dance to Bob and Dudley’s music at the community barn dance. Making connections with great people and like-minded organizations, and the potential for developing partnerships for our upcoming Centennial celebration, is the best part about going to these conferences!

Rima Dael, Executive Director, Country Dance and Song Society


Two Memorial Day Dance Events 860 Miles Apart

A post from Steve Howe, CDSS Director of Programs

Nancy's granddaughter, Alicia Best, singing a waltz with the Boys of the Loft (photo by Maria Howe)

On Memorial Day I woke in Marlboro, VT for the last moments of the 37th Marlboro Morris Ale. After the Maypole dance was done and the pole stored for another year, I was on the road home to Northampton, MA. There I unpacked and repacked before heading to the airport and on to Charlotte, NC and the last pot luck and dance at the log home of my mother, Nancy Howe.

The Charlotte dance community is a vibrant and giving group, going strong since my high school days and cared for by my mother and the many people who have taken over in the last decades. Though the community has had use of their Chantilly Hall for the last few years, they forsake it 3 times a year for the crowded but welcoming living room of “Our House.” Since before the first Marlboro Ale, Memorial Day, Labor Day and the Monday before Christmas have included dances there, driven by the music of “The Boys of the Loft,” playing in the balcony still littered with the blocks and books of my childhood.

In the early years my parents, siblings, and I shifted furniture and rolled up the rug, but it is many years that those tasks are done by many dancers who know exactly where each piece belongs both for the dance and when the dance is over – carefully making sure that the right side of the table is facing the room, that the extension cord is well placed under the couch, and that no food is left for Nancy to deal with. There is even a crew of dancers who come by in the days before to help prepare the house and yard and to support my mother in appreciation for all the support she has given this community over the years.

This Memorial Day’s dance was particularly important because Nancy will be moving to Durham in the next weeks to take up residence with her daughter Sarah (mother of a number of dance gypsies by the name of Best). Four of us siblings were there, coming from Durham and Wilmington in NC, Annville, PA and me, from MA. There were over 100 people in and around the house though I don’t think more than 60 ever danced at the same time – it was crowded! Take a look at this video clip:

Dance at Nancy Howe’s

It was wonderful to see the love and support that my parents gave that group being returned many times over and to be confident that the community will continue to thrive, welcoming in new people, nurturing new leaders and dancing, dancing, dancing.

~ Steve