Monthly Archives: October 2012


by Rima Dael, Executive Directorr

Just wanted to provide a post-storm update. It is a blustery day in Easthampton, MA but the town did not lose power. We are all okay and our office is fine. We’re open today and back to business.

Our thoughts go out to family, friends and members who are affected by Hurricane Sandy…especially in our former home of NYC.

Be well and stay safe,

A Festive Celebration for George Fogg

Brad Foster, George Fogg and Rima Dael

Brad Foster, George Fogg and Rima Dael

It was a lovely afternoon in Payson Church in Belmont, MA, for the CDSS Celebration of George Fogg’s Lifetime Contribution Award. Everyone had a George story to share…now I have one too. The afternoon started a little rainy, but as the speakers spoke about George, about his support, encouragement and welcoming demeanor to jump in to join the dance, the clouds parted and sun shone through. The weather seemed to respond to the warmth and joy within the hall that just must have spilled out to chase the rain away.

There was dancing for all, demonstrations from the Black Jokers Morris Men and Pinewoods Morris Men. We also heard speeches from Brad Foster, CDSS Emeritus Executive & Artistic Director; Steve Roderick from the Pinewoods Morris Men; Howard Lasnick from the Black Jokers Morris Men; Rich Jackson from CDS Boston Centre; Tony Parker from NEFFA; Regina Laskowski and Jo Crawford from the Folk Arts Center of New England; Peggy Hooper from Founders Chapter of the National American Glass Club; and Kitty Keller, Dance Historian and collaborator.

George Fogg accepting his award

We give our thanks to the following people for their hard work, passion and efforts for the celebration:

  • Judy Erickson, Nikki Herbst, Steve Roderick, Barbara Finney,  Marcie Van Cleave for the overall organization of the ceremony.
  • Judy Erickson, Barbara Finney for programming.
  • George Fogg, Rich Jackson, Barbara Finney for leading us in our dancing!
  • Vince O’Donnell for organizing the band.
  • Our musicians: Vince O’Donnell, Ralph Jones, Ishmael Stefanov-Wagner, Barbara Pixon, and Max Newman.
  • NEFFA for providing the sound.
  • Our co-event sponsors: CDS Boston Centre and additional financial support from The Folk Arts Center, NEFFA.
  • Terry Huffaker for decorations and memorabilia.
  • Deb Karl for being hall mistress, and to the Awards Ceremony Committee and all the many volunteers who worked to put this together.
George Fogg with the Pinewoods Morrismen

George with the Pinewoods Morrismen

The Lifetime Contributions Award is about an individual’s long term and exceptional contribution to continuing the living traditions of participatory dance, music and song with roots in English and North American traditions. The day was about George Fogg’s enthusiasm, energy, ideas, connections and activities on behalf of country dancing past, present and future. Thanks George! It was a spectacular afternoon. My heartfelt thanks for all that you’ve done for CDSS.

One more thing to share…check out the video of Sellenger’s Round as our last dance of the afternoon.



All photos by Arthur Ferguson.

Youth Trad Song: A New Weekend in January to Focus on Youth Involvement in Traditional Song

by Nicole Singer

Almost a year ago to the day Nicole Singer marched up to me in her red cowgirl boots at Youth Dance Weekend and told me all about her dream of a youth focused weekend dedicated entirely to traditional singing. Lo and behold, she assembled a committee and that dream came true. I am enormously impressed and look forward to seeing this event enjoy wild success. Thanks Nicole for keeping the “song” in CDSS and the rest of the world.  — Mary Wesley, CDSS Youth Intern

Sitting up until the early morning hours trading songs with a group of dancers last September, I wondered why young singers didn’t have a weekend to call their own. Almost a year later, the first Youth Traditional Song Weekend (YTS) is coming soon! Based largely on the Youth Dance Weekend model, YTS aims to provide a weekend of learning, listening, community-building, and enthusiastic singing to young and young-at-heart attendees alike.

Many people in the traditional dance community know the story of Youth Dance Weekend (YDW): a dance weekend specifically aimed at promoting leadership and skill development among younger dancers. The weekend is also a whole lot of fun!

The idea for YTS was born last year at YDW. As part of the late-night festivities, a bunch of dancers gathered for an informal song swap in the dining hall. I was impressed by how many people came to sing with us, and at the talent and enthusiasm of the group. Here was a group of people who I had only known as dancers, hanging out and having fun—not dancing, but singing. This late-night song session made me realize that there were a lot of young people who loved to sing, though I’d seen very few young people at traditional singing events. I figured that there must be a lot of young people out there who would love to get involved in traditional singing, but didn’t know how to do so, or felt isolated by being one of only a few young people in their singing community.

In late 2011, I gathered a small group of young traditional singers and formed a committee to plan for the first Youth Traditional Song Weekend. The YTS Committee hopes that the weekend will bring singers together to share ideas and strengthen youth involvement in traditional singing communities.

The weekend will feature skill-building workshops, performance opportunities, mentorship opportunities from skilled staff, and plenty of time to just have fun and sing!

YTS will take place in Charlton, MA from January 11th to 13th, 2013. Registration opened October 1st! The whole YTS committee is excited to bring together an intergenerational community of singers to learn from and support each other. YTS also has three super talented singers on staff for our first year: Ian Robb, an expat English singer, “writer of old songs” and member of the harmony trio Finest Kind; Ken Schatz, specializing in chanteys, worksongs and gospel, and the host of New York City’s Exceedingly Good Song Night session; and New England balladeer and fiddler Lissa Schneckenberger.

For more information, visit our website or check us out on Facebook at We’d love to see you there!

Youth Trad Song is supported in part by the New Leaders, Good Leaders fund of the Country Dance and Song Society, the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston, NEFFA and generous donations from the folk song community.


Square Dance History Project Launches New Website

by David Millstone

A group of square dance enthusiasts has launched a digital library and website that takes a broad look at square dancing now as well as the historical antecedents of today’s squares. Please share this news and the link with others who might be interested!

The project’s primary focus is to collect good examples of moving images—more than 400 videos so far—that document square dancing in its many forms. This includes New England dosido and western docey-do, barn dances and hoedowns, stately quadrilles and rip-roarin’ squares of the 1950s, as well as modern square dance programs from Mainstream to Challenge. The site also includes interviews, text, photographs, audio files, and much more.

Among the many treats awaiting you:

• Rare footage of the Lloyd Shaw’s Cheyenne Mountain Dancers, plus a black and white silent film (1955) showing square dances in Central City, Colorado
• A set of 100 high-definition videos filmed in 2011 at the Dare To Be Square weekend at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, with six nationally-known square dance callers, and a set of 25 additional videotaped interviews.
• More than 150 items related to MWSD, including an article by Jim Mayo looking at the early years, illustrated with live recordings from the 1940s and 1950s
• Elizabeth Burchenal’s silent footage of southern Appalachian mountain squares from the early 1930s
• A curated assortment of more than 400 videos showing dancing from Newfoundland and Quebec to the American Southwest
• Exhibits showcasing items in the collection, on such diverse topics as the pioneering work of Lloyd Shaw in Colorado to an in-depth look at dances from Maryland Line, Maryland

The site is a work in progress, and additional material will be added regularly to the collection. The home page offers a way to contribute additional items; the organizers are especially interested in locating home movie footage from decades past.

As part of its financial contribution, CDSS co-sponsored the Dare To Be Square weekend and provided funding for the weekend’s documentation. This includes the videotaped dances plus the CD-ROM disk (syllabus and complete audio files) that is in the CDSS store. CDSS also administers the fund that supports the project; the other fiscal supporters include the Lloyd Shaw Foundation, CALLERLAB, and The ARTS (Alliance of Round, Traditional, and Square-Dance).