Submit your own memento

  • See a video of Kate throwing a mug on the pottery wheel:

  • No one is more deserving of this award than Kate Barnes, who dramatically altered the way piano players played for contra dances in her unassuming way.

  • Nancy's greeting to Kate:

  • No one has a smile like Kate. To see that smile is our joy—especially after a particularly funny variation on the flute or penny whistle and the interplay among the musicians that was caused.

  • Kate has always been one of the most supportive, funny, and talented people I know. She was one of the first musicians I danced to at the Wednesday Arlington Heights English dances, and we are spoiled rotten by her talent and sheer joy in her playing.

  • congratulations, kate, on an honor well deserved! i'm pleased to count myself among the very many friends whose lives you have enriched.

  • For decades, Kate has been my musical idol. My first memories of Kate are from when she played piano for contra dances at the Brimmer & May School in Chestnut Hill, MA, back in the late 1970s. I have to admit that I was struggling as a new dancer, and it surprised me to hear so many musical and creative moments when I finally had enough brain cells to listen to the music.

  • Hi Kate,

    As you know, I enjoy your music on any one of your varied instruments. One of the things I like best is when you are sitting alone on a stage with no one really paying attention and then you start playing some blues on your guitar.

  • When Kate and Bare Necessities come to Pittsburgh for their special weekend it is always a delight. Kate's presence is joyful, accepting and heart warming.

  • Just before a dance started, I had to tell Peter and Doug Creighton (concertina) that the evening’s pianist had been called to a family emergency. After they both expressed concern, Doug gestured at the piano and winking at Peter said, “Think you can play it?”

  • We run a very small English dance in New Hampshire (or did, before COVID). We've hired Kate for years to play music for us.

  • This was a minor event by most standards, but very memorable and meaningful to me. It was my first time at Pinewoods, AD&M 1983. In fact, it was my first time at any dance camp or weekend. I had heard all the superlatives about Pinewoods, and I was intimidated, and alone, but for a wide variety of reasons, I was there, all the way from Charleston, SC.

  • We have bazillions of music and dance memories of Kate, from waltzes to contras to English Country dance. She’s a Linux and electronics nerd. But the memory that first comes to mind is sitting at a dining table at Pinewoods when a little girl said “We are taking all the chocolate, and you will never get to eat it again.”

  • Kate Barnes has been a constant presence in my music and dancing life since I started attending the CDSS Family Week at Ogontz in 1999 and the CDS-BC July 4 Session at Pinewoods in 2003.

  • From a caller’s (and dancer’s) perspective, I’ve always been impressed with Kate’s talent and versatility. I feel lucky to be able to work with her so often, and I enjoy her musical humor.

  • Thanks, Kate!

  • Max Newman, Jeremiah McLane and I were playing the Greenfield dance one summer Friday, to a small crowd. At the end of the break, Kate Barnes walked in dressed all in black, with a motorbike helmet under her arm and a huge grin, saying "Hello Boys!"

  • Our first encounter with Kate was in the 60s and 70s at the Scout House Dances where our daughter Mara, when she was a few years old, used to fall asleep under Kate's piano.

  • Peter Barnes was sitting on a log in front of the dining hall at Pinewoods one night. The conversation was about Boston accents. I happened to walk by and said to him, “What ah you, [disparaging word]?” Much to my delight (and relief), he laughed heartily.

  • Kate, you can look back with great pride! Thank you for your splendid contributions. What do you see looking ahead?

  • You probably don't remember, but I first met you at Ashokan Northern Week back in the 90's as a camper and was taken by your vaudeville breakneck sensibilities on piano and everything else. Right up my Borscht Belt alley!

  • Traveled to many far flung destinations on contra dance trips where Peter was part of the band.

  • Congratulations, Kate! In thinking through favorite memories of times with you, several come right to mind:

  • Vince O'Donnell's greeting to Kate Barnes:

  • Ever since I saw Kate perform at Brimmer & May in 1979, her music and influential compiling of our English Country Dance Repertory follows me everywhere.

  • Many years ago at a Pinewoods English Week silent auction (early 2000s?), Kate (then Peter) and I were bidding for the same dance dress. She wouldn't give up, and the price kept going higher and higher. I really wanted it!

  • Three things come to mind. The first was the yearly music party at the Winchester house shared with Susie and Larry back in the 80’s. It was the one Saturday night that no dance could be scheduled because every musician was at the house party. Each room would have a different session going on.

  • Congratulations Kate! and thanks for so many contributions to the dance community—especially in providing music, training and support for English dance musicians everywhere.

  • It would be impossible to overestimate the influence that the Barnes Books had on my entire family. Julia (violin) and Rory (piano) performed countless tunes from the first two volumes over the years, which are still staples of our music-making.

  • Our time together was over 30 years ago, many wonderful evenings and fine music. Remember dances in Francestown, NH with Alan Block, the world's oldest and perhaps happiest fiddler?

  • Dear Kate!
    I have listened to and watched the evolution of your music and your life, with interest, awe, fascination and especially love, since the 1970’s when I danced in the Boston area and subsequently at dances up here in the NH/VT/MA area.

  • Warm-hearted, quick-witted, brilliantly talented musically, Kate has graced our community with her humble brand of genius in kind and inspiring ways.

  • I first met Kate at Pinewoods and I remember thinking to myself "Who is this extraordinary person who seems to be able to play anything and everything, has the most wonderful welcoming smile, and is one of the nicest people I think I've ever met?"

See more photos in the slideshow!

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