Sarah VanNorstrand has been calling, organizing and teaching contra, square, and family/community dances for over ten years. She has a clear and engaging teaching style and a great repertoire of dances to share. Instantly hooked from her first contra dance as a teen, Sarah’s love of social dancing and her joy in sharing it is evident and infectious. Above all, her goal as a caller is to make sure the dancers are having a wonderful time connecting with the music and each other.
Matthew Olwell is a multimedia artist who has been performing and teaching internationally since 1996. The son of renowned wooden flute-maker Patrick Olwell, Matthew began his professional career touring for nine years with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, with whom he appeared in the London production of Riverdance. He has been a featured performer and teacher at numerous festivals and camps, including the Augusta Heritage Center, the Swannanoa Gathering, CDSS at Pinewoods, and the John C. Campbell Folk School. In the summer of 2014, Matthew performed in Russia on a U.S. State Department Arts Envoy tour with The Meaning of Buck Dance, directed by Emily Oleson in collaboration with Urban Artistry and Baakari Wilder. Other recent projects include a 2017 guest appearance with Anam (co-produced by Ireland’s National Folk Theatre and The Dublin Dance Festival), and CyberTrad, Matthew’s debut solo album, which blends wooden flute and Human Beatbox with traditional and original Irish and Breton music, and of which the Irish Echo writes, “Outstanding... Olwell is an artist with a keen vision.” A 2017 graduate of Davis & Elkins College with a degree in Multimedia Performance, Matthew is a second-year Dance Studies MFA candidate at Temple University.
Matthew Kenney has been surrounded by the New England contra-dance music scene for his entire life. He is in the third-generation of a musical family rooted in traditional music, which has shaped his interest and provided him opportunity. He has made guest appearances with The Horseflies including NPR’s radio show Michael Feldman’s Whaddya Know, and at the Grassroots Festival (Ithaca, NY). He has shared the stage with Bela Fleck, Clyde Stubblefield (James Brown Band), Jay Ungar, Rodney Miller, and many others. In addition to Rift, he plays with JEMS, StringRays, Clew Bay, and more. Matt’s ability spans many genres. When Matt is not playing music, he can be found listening to music searching for new creative influence.
Mark David Buckles
Mark David Buckles is a conductor, composer, singer, music educator, and multi-instrumentalist. Mark David's many roles include serving as the Director of Music at Arlington Street Church in Boston, Music Director of The Sanctuary Boston, and Lecturer of Music Theory at MIT. In addition, Mark David is both a prolific composer and arranger of choral, vocal, and instrumental music, and an acclaimed performer and worship leader, leading worship and music services throughout the country with his reverent spirit and infectious energy. When he is not making music and/or spending time with his amazing daughter, Mark David enjoys chess, hiking, bread, and geocaching.