The Ripple Effect: CDSS support is catalyst
for new opportunities in Oregon
Sharon Rogers recently sent us this story... it perfectly illustrates the ripple effect that CDSS support can have on a traditional dance, music, and song community. She writes:
"In the Fall of 2015, Coos Bay, Oregon, was one of the fortunate communities chosen for an entire week of workshops and activities to help CDSS celebrate the organization's Centennial. The project here was called simply "South Coast Folk Week." We spent many months planning for the event, wrangling volunteers, raising funds, and publicizing. It turned out to be a fantastic week with lots of enthusiastic participation. We enjoyed music workshops with the band "Firefly" from North Carolina, and workshops with Bob Dalsemer in dancing and calling. We had participation from folks from all over our region, and we were encouraged to take the energy into 2016 and beyond.
Because of Folk Week, many local talented folks were inspired to use their skills as dance musicians. The South Coast Folk Society's president at the time, Jennifer Sordyl, had a vision that our small community could experience a version of the huge extravaganza known as Portland [Oregon] Megaband. Our folk society was longing to draw the numbers of dancers that we enjoyed during Folk Week, and we wanted to create a big event.
Jennifer's tireless grant-writing efforts took seed with two large foundations, the Oregon Cultural Trust and the Oregon Community Foundation; CDSS also stepped up with a grant to kickstart the South Coast Mentoring Musicians Project. Sue Songer and Betsy Branch, authors of The Portland Collection and directors of Portland Megaband, were contracted to come to our community to lead workshops, provide guidance, and conduct our own "megaband," a 21-member folk dance orchestra.
We started rehearsals in January 2017 with a wide mix of participants: young and old, novice and professional players, experienced contra dance musicians and musicians who had never been to a contra. When we first played together, it was clearly a group that had potential, and it did sound like 21 musicians playing the same tune at the same time. While that was a good place to start, over the course of the rehearsals we became a true orchestra, playing tightly together with nuance and mastering interesting arrangements--and we clearly had a lot of fun doing it!
The project culminated in a full weekend in June 2017 with a well-attended Saturday evening contra, called by Woody Lane, from Eugene, with Rich Goss, from Portland, taking care of the sound (no small job!). Sunday offered a concert at our local vintage theatre, the Egyptian. The concert opened with a performance from our local Morris Dancers, who also led the audience in singing “Spread the Joy,” the song written by Jonathan Jensen to commemorate the 100th anniversary of CDSS. The concert setting gave the South Coast Dance Orchestra a chance to perform concert arrangements of pieces from the contra dance repertoire while introducing newcomers to this style of music. The well-received event also featured Sue and Betsy playing some fine pieces and Woody Lane performing his famous clogging.
The South Coast Folk Society feels blessed to have received so much support in the past couple of years, and we continue to draw new dancers and musicians into the fold. This fall we started our Monday Night Trad Dance, which has been a success, bringing in new people every week. It features our own South Coast musicians and callers.
We welcome you to join us on Oregon’s beautiful South Coast!"
In the photo at the top:
Front row from left: Karen Olsen, Jennifer Sordyl, Molly Aton, Zack Wassman, David Williams. Second row: Bob Morrow, Sharon Rogers, Francie MacLeod, Chris Brown, Marty Giles, Gerry Canning. Third row: Alayne Olmsted, Diane Cassel, Deb Holmes, Cynthia Stone, Sylvia Ernst, Don Berg, Dawn Vonderlin. Fourth row: Steve Jones, Hege Bakken, Penny McLeod, Davy Sweetman, Tom Purvis, Jon Menten, Bruce Swanson. Not pictured: Bryan Mast.
Need funding for an event or project to support YOUR music, dance, or song community? We’re here to help groups of all sizes! Check out our easy grant application info. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Next deadlines: Feb 1, June 1.
Volume 11 of the English Country Dance Collection focuses on dances by modern English composers, primarily Pat Shaw, who opened the door to modern composition in the second half of the 20th century, and whose Centenary it is this year. Also included are dances by William Ganiford, Bob Lilley, Colin Hume, Ellen Taylor, Naomi Alexander, Tom Cook, Ron Coxall, and Hazel Moir. With music from a wide range of sources, both old and modern, the volume shows tremendous variety in style and feel. After the passing in 2013 of former editor Helene Cornelius, Volume 11 is the first dance booklet edited by Brad Foster.
Dances include: Amy, The Betrayed Lover, Dear Papa and Dear Mama, Delia, The Fast Packet, Josephine, Koepoort Galliard, Mr. Ganiford’s Delight, Mr. Ganiford’s Maggot, The Pride of Newcastle, Stepping Stones, Turn of the Tide, Up on a Lofty Mountain, and White Wheat.
Buy it from the CDSS online store.
Our Annual Report for 2016, published in the News, is now available online for all. Please take a look! It includes letters from Executive Director Katy German and President David Millstone, highlights of all we were able to do thanks to the generous support of our 2016 donors, and financial reporting for FY2016.
Gaye Fifer, Pittsburgh, PA, has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the CDSS Governing Board. A retired teacher, Gaye served two terms on the Board in the past, and has been a member of the fund development committee. She is a well-known dance leader (contras and squares, English country dance, and waltz) and organizer who has served as the program director for several dance weeks. Read her bio on our governing board page (click on her name in the chart).
Our monthly song series continues! September's song of the month - Sweet William's Ghost - is a haunting tale of the continuance of love and commitment after death. Lisa Null introduces it for us and you'll find a YouTube clip of Lisa singing it accompanied by guitarist Bill Shute, along with the full lyrics, on the Song of the Month page.
The Fall issue is online with lots of great content, including articles about the road to a morris dance performance (Linda Golaszewski), the Berea Country Dancers’ cultural exchange trip to China (Susan English), 101-year-old Jean Blair Dolan celebrating her birthday at a contra dance (Andrea Pitkow), and a ballroom that spoke (Gary Shapiro). There are also columns by Lorraine Sutton (News from Canada), Graham Christian (Tell Me More), Bob Dalsemer (CDSS Sings) and Anna Rain (Yoga for Dancers). And we’ve also included the CDSS Annual Report for 2016. Read and enjoy!