A series of summer blogs by CDSS Executive Director Rima Dael:
Berea College, Texas Tech, and the Castaways?
My continued travels to each week of CDSS camps had me stopping at English and American Week this past Sunday and Monday (more below), but the Friday before we had another visitor to our office in Easthampton—Deborah Thompson, Director of Programming for the Appalachian Center at Berea College, stopped by our office on her way to Pinewoods. We wore her out from chatting about our programs, education, her newly completed PhD program, shared opportunities, and partnering on projects that would be mutually beneficial. (I realize that sounds all very official, but as you see from our picture, we had a great time connecting!) We are very excited about the possibilities that can come out of future collaborations.
At Pinewoods this time I stayed in Twin Sisters. It was a homecoming of sorts, since I stayed in Quite Carried Away, a cabin nearby, with my daughter during Family Week. My daughter asked me to check on how the fairy houses were doing near her cabin, which I did. In case you were wondering, happy to report, they are doing okay.
One of the joys of camp is meeting, dancing, singing and playing music with folks from all over. At English and American Week, it was great to connect with the Texas Tech students from the Vernacular Music Scholars Program (http://www.vernacularmusiccenter.org/outreach-scholars.html), pictured here dancing, with Jim Morrison on fiddle.
Our partnership with Texas Tech and Vernacular Music Center Director, Dr. Chris Smith, is a great partnership and friendship. There were six students (four returnees and two new) this year, with scholarship support from CDSS. We are happy to continue our work fostering emerging talent and practitioners in our genre.
I have to include here a lovely picture of Barbara Moloney and Anna Matheson. If you have to be in an arm cast, being at Pinewoods helps take the yuckiness out of it. As Barbara and Anna shared on the Camphouse porch, there is a community around you to help with meals, literally prop up an elbow, and good company. Not to mention, the dancing and music! (And, I heard from CDSS Program Director Steve Howe that this duo performed hambone at morning gathering as The Castaways!)
The most amazing part of my summer travels has been meeting many CDSS friends and family—new and first time campers, multiple generations of campers, musicians, dancers, teachers, dance gypsies, historians, scholars…well, you get this picture. My time at English and American Week was along those lines. It is fun for me to put faces to the names of the book authors, songwriters, dance leaders, dance historians, composers, choreographers and artists who are part of our community.
It is fun, important fun, for me to listen and learn from those who have come before me and to engage in discussion of what lies ahead for CDSS. I feel that I have been given a very special gift. I accept the responsibility to steward this organization in a manner that respects the history and traditions from where we came but to be forward looking to ensure a sustainable and viable CDSS. I look forward to partnering with everyone I’ve met to celebrate our Centennial in 2015 and beyond.