I first encountered David Kaynor at Ashokan Northern Week in 1984, and during the rest of the ‘80s he was the essence of Northern Week for me. The highlight of each day was his leading a procession of musicians to the dining hall before dinner playing a Swedish walking tune. Memorable as well was his contra dance calling while playing the fiddle, seasoned by his inimitable dry sense of humor.
Over the years, my life continued to be brightened by encounters with David and his calling at various dance weekends as well as all-too-rarely at Friday night dances in the Glen Echo Ballroom in Maryland. When I learned of his illness, I thought his traveling as a dance musician was over, but no—a year or two ago he was part of a band that played at a Glen Echo contra dance (I forget who the band was). Because it had been many years since our last meeting, I was prepared to remind him of our connections when I went up to the stage to greet him during the break. However, he recognized me immediately, eased himself off the stage, greeted me by name, and enveloped me in a bear hug. Tears well up at this heartwarming memory.