Following are bios of current camp staff; more will be added as they become available.
Alan Gasser is an experienced conductor, professional chorister, singer and voice teacher. He co-directs the Echo Women's Choir (since 1993), and has led countless choirs in Toronto over the past twenty years. Alan has sung Georgian folk music since 1985, with the Kartuli Ensemble, besides founding the Trio Kavkasia and the ensemble Darbazi. He worked with Village Harmony for many years in Vermont, and founded Worldsongs (in Canada) in 2005, as well as the hospice choir Singing Through Life.
Alex Cumming is a traditional singer, accordionist and dance caller hailing from Somerset, England who now lives in Boston, MA. He performs songs and tunes from around the UK and beyond with a great depth of knowledge for the traditions backed up by a Bachelor's Degree in Folk & Traditional Music from Newcastle University. Alex has made his mark on the folk scene with his rhythmic danceable accordion style, strong voice and his fun and engaging stage presence. As a dancer Alex is a member Maple Morris, Newcastle Kingsmen and Newtowne Morris and currently performs in several bands including award winning a Capella group The Teacups, Critically acclaimed duo Alex Cumming & Nicola Beazley and New England Contra Dance band Reelation.
Andy Davis calls traditional New England style contra and square dances. He plays accordion and piano for traditional dances. Andy’s specialty is calling community events inclusive of dancers of all abilities. For over thirty years Andy has taught music and dance in Vermont public schools, summer camps - and at weddings, parties and community gatherings. Andy is a founding member of “New England Dancing Masters,” publishers of dance books and recordings for the teaching of New England traditional dance. For 30 years he was part of the group “Nowell Sing We Clear,” a Vermont based group that performed and recorded mid-winter carols and customs.
Anna Patton grew up in a musical family in northern Vermont and was immersed from a young age in an eclectic mix of jazz, classical, traditional and world music. These days she gets to incorporate many of those influences into playing clarinet for different kinds of dancing, including English, Contra, Swing, and Blues. For the last decade, Anna's innovative dance band Elixir has toured extensively around the U.S. and abroad. She also plays clarinet with other groups like the Julian Gerstin Sextet and the Dunham Shoe Factory. When not on the road, Anna spends her time teaching, arranging, and composing vocal music for the Jazz choir she directs and other choirs around Vermont. Anna also teaches workshops on playing for dancing, aural skills, and improvisation. She received her Masters from New England Conservatory in 2014, focusing on early jazz, free improvisation, and composition in the conservatory's Contemporary Improvisation program. She lives in Brattleboro VT with her husband, Ethan Hazzard-Watkins.
Anna Soloway has been a camper since age nine and is best known for being a highly energized pied piper in past years. When she's not at camp she is a nurse educator for the inpatient psychiatry program at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill, NC. She recommends writing your evening gathering acts in the car on the way to camp!
Anne Timberlake has appeared across the United States performing repertoire from Bach to twenty-first-century premieres to Celtic tunes. She holds degrees in recorder performance from Oberlin Conservatory, where she studied with Alison Melville, and Indiana University, where she studied with Eva Legene and won the 2007 Early Music Institute Concerto Competition. Critics have praised her "fine technique and stylishness," "unexpectedly rich lyricism" (Letter V), and "dazzling playing" (Chicago Classical Review). Anne has received awards from the American Recorder Society and the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, and was awarded a Fulbright Grant. With Musik Ekklesia, Anne has recorded for the Sono Luminus label. She is a founding member of the ensemble Wayward Sisters, specializing in music of the early baroque. In 2011, Wayward Sisters won Early Music America's Naxos Recording Competition. Wayward Sisters released their debut CD on the Naxos label in 2014. Anne enjoys teaching as well as playing. In addition to teaching private, group and online recorder lessons, Anne has coached through Indiana University's Pre-College Recorder Program, the San Francisco Early Music Society, the Amherst Early Music Festival, Virginia Baroque Performance Institute, Mountain Collegium, and for numerous ARS chapters. http://www.annetimberlake.com
Anney Barrett, soprano, holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame in Vocal Performance and Great Books and an MM in Vocal Performance from the Longy School of Music. An enthusiastic and adventurous musician, Anney is delighted to be a frequent collaborator with local composers in presenting and recording new solo and choral works, including a recent project with the Boston Composers' Coalition. She performs regularly throughout the greater Boston area with her professional quartet, Anthology, singing 40s jazz, folk, and world music. Recent collaborations include work with Cambridge Concentus, Labyrinth Choir, Schola Cantorum of Boston, The Boston Cecilia, Convivium Musicum, the Boston Concerto Soloists and the Boston Modern Opera Project. Anney co-owns and manages The Green Room, a new arts studio in Union Square, Somerville, where she also maintains a private voice studio. She is the resident soloist at Christ Church Andover, under the direction of Barbara Bruns. Anney is currently pursuing an MA in Mental Health Counseling at Lesley University.
An incredibly versatile dancer and world-class instructor, Ari is well-known for both his fun, energetic, and delightful classes that can't help but inspire students with a love and passion for dance, and for his clear, articulate teaching style that can take even the most complex steps and concepts and make them easy, understandable, and fun to do on the social dance floor. Ari has been teaching and performing nationally and internationally for over 25 years; is the director and co-founder of Waltz Week in Vienna, Harrison Hot Springs Dance & Spa Retreat, Mexico Dance Week, Waltz Fest NW, Heart-Sound Fusion, Hawaii Dance Adventure, and The New Zealand Dance Adventure; and is one of this country's leading innovators and instructors in the areas of lead and follow social-partner dance. When not dancing, Ari is a physician on faculty with Singularity University's Exponential Medicine, and is a pioneer in the burgeoning field of Experiential Wellness Medicine which, among other things, uses dance movement, technique, and connection as a modality for diagnosing and treating patients, and for bringing balance, wellness, joy, and intention to one life. You can learn more about Ari at www.rolluptherug.com, www.waltzweekinvienna.com, www.mexicodanceadventure.com. You can find Ari’s books at www.booksbyarilevitt.com.
Hailing from the great state of Rhode Island, Armand Aromin and Benedict Gagliardi are seekers and singers of old songs, cultivators of local music, and chronic multi-instrumentalists. They are touted as strong tradition-bearers in their generation, and their genuine affinity for the music is evident in the emotion they draw from it. With a pair of oft-harmonizing voices tastefully garnished with fiddle, free-reeds, and tenor guitar, The Vox Hunters offer an all-natural connection to the living tradition of folk music. Their three mantras are: “Sing Local”, “Sing Often”, and “Roger Williams for President”. thevoxhunters.com
Becky Tracy grew up dancing to her father's calling and scratchy 78s of Don Messer's fiddle playing. She has fiddled with the bands Nightingale and Wild Asparagus for the last 15 years and has played in many, many lovely places including Hawaii and France. Becky has a distinctive clarity of tone, a rhythmic attack owing much to French-Canadian playing and the melodic quality of Irish music. Her unmistakable sound has made her a defining presence among dance musicians.
Hailing from the great state of Rhode Island, Armand Aromin and Benedict Gagliardi are seekers and singers of old songs, cultivators of local music, and chronic multi-instrumentalists. They are touted as strong tradition-bearers in their generation, and their genuine affinity for the music is evident in the emotion they draw from it. With a pair of oft-harmonizing voices tastefully garnished with fiddle, free-reeds, and tenor guitar, The Vox Hunters offer an all-natural connection to the living tradition of folk music. Their three mantras are: “Sing Local”, “Sing Often”, and “Roger Williams for President”. thevoxhunters.com
Betsy Branch, from Portland OR, is a dance fiddler and private fiddle teacher. She plays both contra and English Country Dance music, and her reperatoire includes tunes from Ireland, Scotland, Appalachia and Quebec. She is also the Associate Music Director for Portland's Christmas Revels production, where she is the house fiddler, band leader, and frequent music arranger.
Brooke Friendly is known for her warm yet commanding personality, her clear and concise teaching, her creativity, and her sense of humor and whimsy. She has a strong sense of what makes for a good community and she makes the learning experience fun and relaxing. A dancer for more than 30 years, she co-leads a weekly English and Scottish dance in Ashland Oregon, teaches ECD callers workshops, calls contra and family dances, and teaches country dance in a variety of settings: college academic credit, older adults, and K-12 students. Brooke has been on staff at camps, weekends, festivals, balls, and workshops throughout North America and England, and is heading to Australia to teach this spring! A dance choreographer, she, with her husband Chris Sackett, has published five books of dances (Impropriety Vols. 1-5) and produced six CDs with the band Roguery (Shira Kammen, Jim Oakden, Anita Anderson, and Dave Bartley). Impropriety Volume 6 will be published this summer. Brooke recently started a longsword and border morris team and sings in a world music choir.
Casey Murray is a multi-instrumentalist and tunesmith currently studying cello performance and American Roots music at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. She has a diverse background in classical, folk and improvisation with a particular focus on dance music.
Cedar Stanistreet grew up playing both classical violin and traditional fiddle music, and studied violin performance at the Crane School of Music. For the past ten years he has played for contra dances across North America with bands including Nor’easter, Cardinal Direction, Maivish, and Cloud Ten. His spirited, rhythmic playing and clear tone keep dancers on their feet. In between gigs, Cedar can be found at home in Brattleboro, VT, growing vegetables, baking bread, and birdwatching. He also repairs violins, violas, and cellos.
Christa Patton, historical harpist and early wind specialist, has performed throughout the Americas, Europe, and Japan with many of today’s premier early music ensembles including Piffaro the Renaissance Band, Early Music New York, The King’s Noyse, Folger Consort, Newberry Consort, Apollo’s Fire, The Toronto Consort, Parthenia, ARTEK, Pegasus, New York State Baroque Orchestra, and many others. As a baroque harpist specializing in 17th century opera, Christa has performed in many early opera productions including New York City Opera and Wolf Trap Opera. She can be heard playing baroque harp and a multitude of other instruments on recordings such as "Istampitta" [Lyrachord] "Chacona" and "Trionfo d'Amore e della Morte" [Dorian] and Nobile Donna on ATMA among others. Christa is on the faculty of Rutgers University and the Graduate Center at CUNY. She is also musical director of the Baroque Opera Workshop at Queens College, specializing in the works of early 17th century composers, which she started with co-director David Ronis.
Double-bassist Corey DiMario is one of the most sought after accompanists in the acoustic music scene. He has performed at major festivals and concert venues across North America, Europe and Australia. A diverse musician, Mr. DiMario adds rock solid, low-end accompaniment and driving rhythm to any musical situation. A founding member of the string band sensation Crooked Still, DiMario brings a diverse musical palette and energetic approach to an ensemble. He has performed extensively with New England fiddler and singer Lissa Schneckenburger as well as being a part of the Brittany Haas/Dan Trueman Band, performing original music in Old-Time and Scandinavian styles. Mr. DiMario was in the"house band" for Bela Fleck's New York Banjo Summit featuring banjoists Tony Trischka, Bill Keith, Pete Wernick, Eric Weissberg, Richie Stearns, Noam Pikelny and of course Bela Fleck. He also performs regularly with Vermont based American roots and branches ensemble, Low Lily. Corey DiMario received his undergraduate degree in Jazz Performance from the New England Conservatory in 2001 and is a freelance musician in Brattleboro, VT. He previously studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.
Daphna Mor has performed throughout Europe and the U.S. as a soloist and as an ensemble player. Her appearances include solo recitals in Croatia, Germany and Switzerland; Recitals at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Trinity Church, New York; Soloist with The New York Collegium; Soloist with New York Early Music Ensemble; Soloist at Carnegie Hall with Little Orchestra Society, Orchestra member with the New York Philharmonic; City Opera, Mostly Mozart. Lincoln Center; Piffaro- The Renaissance Band and Repast. Awards include First Prize in Settimane Musicali di Lugano Solo Competition and two-time winner of The Boston Conservatory Concerto Competition. Ms. Mor received her Bachelor of Music degree from The Boston Conservatory with highest honors as Valedictorian of the class of 2000. Ms. Mor acts as musician to the education department of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is a frequent teacher in early music workshops around the U.S. Ms. Mor is frequently involved in performing of contemporary music. This season she was featured as a soloist with The Metropolis Ensemble, performing the world premiere of Tears, Puffes, Jumps, and Galliard by David Bruce. In 2009 she joined St Luke’s Orchestra to perform the NY premiere of The Flowering Tree, composed and conducted by John Adams. Ms. Mor is an active World Music musician as well. Ms. Mor has appeared on such prestigious stages as Summer Stage, Central Park, NY; and in festivals all over the U.S., Canada, Poland, Italy, Spain, Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Greece and Israel. She appears on Sting’s New CD If On a Winter’s Night on the Deutsche Gramophone label and is a musician at residence at B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue in New York City.
Dave Langford is an experienced and versatile fiddler and guitarist and fiddle teacher from the Boston area. A veteran of 30+ years of playing for public dances, weddings, parties and late night sessions, Dave combines multiple styles of fiddling with fierce energy and drive. He has been a staff member for music and dance weeks at Pinewoods, Ogontz, Mendocino, Augusta and Christmas Country Dance School at Berea KY as well as hundreds of weekend dance events around the U.S. and beyond. He tours widely with The Latter Day Lizards, Stomp Rocket and Supertrad.
Dave Wiesler began his musical journey as “the guy who could figure out the chords” in his high school garage band. Nearly 20 years later he discovered playing folk music for dances, and felt that the job description had been written just for him. At home in a wide range of styles, Dave is in demand for contra, English and Scottish country dancing, swing, waltz and vintage dance; and his music has taken him across the country and into Canada, Scotland, England, France and the Galapagos Islands. Dave is a prolific composer of tunes and songs, and is also a capable guitarist and singer. He lives in Newark, DE, with his wife and two young sons who don't let him practice nearly as much as he'd like.
David Merleau is a folklore storyteller and a radio host and producer. He is currently the manager of the radio and podcast program for the Storytellers of Canada. David has worked for the CBC as a journalist and associate producer, and has created Youth Radio initiatives for community radio stations in Canada, including VOBB in Gros Morne Newfoundland. Last year David was the voice behind “Camper's Week Radio”- a short podcast featuring the voices and sounds of the week. He is looking forward to being your Morning Gathering MC!
David Millstone fell in love with English country dance at Pinewoods Camp in 1987, and has been leading ECD for the past twenty-five years. He also calls American contras and squares, and he loves calling for family dances and other similar events. He is known for clear teaching, a broad repertoire, a gentle sense of humor, and the ability to pick dances that offer the right level of challenge for all audiences. He is a past President of CDSS.
Deirdre Murtha, of Norwalk, CT, has been an early childhood music teacher for the past 20 years, and was a preschool and elementary classroom teacher for 10 years before that. Her music, dance, and now theater programs bring her to preschools, libraries, camps, and private home-based groups. Deirdre is a member of the dance education group Pourparler; is certified in Level One Orff, Kodaly, and Dalcroize music education; and holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Hunter College in NYC. She also performs with her husband, Sean, in Strange Potatoes (Irish traditional, old-time, Rev. and Civil War) and together they run a monthly Chantey Sing in Southwestern CT. Deirdre is also a member of the maritime and sea chantey group The Johnson Girls (www.thejohnsongirls.com). She has also been a member of two Revels productions in NYC.
Denis Liddy, originally from Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare, has been playing the fiddle since he was eight. He is now a primary school teacher in Co. Clare, where he also runs a large traditional music school. Since 1999, his music students have competed in and won numerous competitions, recorded four CDs and toured in Ireland, the UK, France, Spain, Canada, China, Bulgaria, the US, Australia and Sweden. Denis regularly teaches and performs in many music projects and events including the Willie Clancy Summer School, the Milwaukee Irish Festival, the Ennis Traditional Music Festival and the Joseph Browne Traditional Music Festival. He has recorded a number of traditional music albums including Tradaree with his wife, Elvie Miller.
2019 marks forty years at Pinewoods for Dennis Soloway. He may be best known for ruining improving pop songs in the early 2000s by playing them on the concertina after-hours in the Camp House. He and Anna look forward to getting you to the dance on time!
Desiree Melegrito Halcomb
Desiree is an elementary and middle school music teacher at an independent school in Princeton, NJ, where she has been teaching general music classes and conducting choirs for almost 20 years. She is also a conductor of the Trenton Children’s Chorus in Trenton, NJ as well as a private piano instructor. Desiree grew up in a family who loved to sing together and found herself at an early age playing for get-to-togethers with family and friends. She went on to study piano and music education at Ithaca College and Westminster Choir College. She became hooked on traditional music and dance when she attended her first CDSS Family Week at Timber Ridge in 2014. Since then she’s become an enthusiastic contra and English country dancer, and also has enjoyed dipping her feet into calling and leading family dances in her community. Desiree is excited to be returning to Ogontz for the third summer with her 2 daughters, and even more excited to be on staff this year!
Diane Sutliff has worked in many art forms, from painting, drawing, and textiles, to costume construction, cigar box guitars, and Franken-fiddles. Right now, she is mostly focused on pottery and human potential. Since 1995 she has taught thousands of kids and adults to draw, both in public schools and at her own neighborhood art classes. She currently teaches pre-K through 8th grade artists at several schools in Chicago. She likes to give her students tips and tricks, provide lots of opportunity for choices, and then tries to get out of the way!
Doug Creighton is an inspiring musician on the button accordion and flute. He has a wealth of experience as both dancer and musician for numerous display dance teams, plays in the English dance band Pleasures of the Town and joins in as a guest in numerous contra bands. Doug is internationally known as the guru of The Button Box, where he keeps the world safe for accordions and concertinas.
Elvie Miller grew up immersed in the New England music and dance community and attended Family Week at Pinewoods many times as a camper. A recipient of the Watson Fellowship in 2005, she studied traditional dance music in northern Europe, and subsequently moved to music-rich County Clare, Ireland, where she now lives with her husband, fiddler Denis Liddy, and their twin daughters. She keeps busy gigging at local castles and teaching secondary (high) school English and Music as well as teaching classical and traditional piano and piano accordion privately.
Emily O'Brien is a native of Washington, DC where she played recorder from a young age. She studied recorder and french horn at Boston University, and recorder and Baroque flute at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe, Germany. She performs in recorder ensembles and historical chamber music, as well as English Country Dance bands. As a teacher, she works with private students and ensembles in the Boston area and at summer workshops. Emily's solo album "Fantasies for a Modern Recorder" explores the variety and possibilities over four centuries of repertoire offered by the Helder Harmonic Tenor recorder, including a variety of flute and violin music usually inaccessible to the recorder as well as new works commissioned for the project. In her spare time, she enjoys long distance cycling.
A Brooklyn native, Emma Conroy was first introduced to yoga in high school by her mother. She was hit by the yoga bug years later, while living in Lima, Peru. There she began a daily practice and was inspired and amazed by the effect yoga had her body and chronic back pain. In 2012 she completed her first yoga teacher training in Samadhi Power Yoga, and has been teaching in English and in Spanish ever since.
Emma Whitla is an eager choral singer, and lover of folk songs. She was on tour with Northern Harmony in 2017 where she developed her teaching skills and stage presence. After that she spent some time in Cuba, studying dance, where she also directed a church choir. Now studying dance at York University, she continues singing with her family and with the Echo Women's Choir. Some of the styles Emma is familiar with are Georgian singing, shape note, American roots folk songs, and jazz standards. By working many times with Malcolm Dalglish at Ooolation, she has also learned many of his compositions. She loves rounds, and teaching other people songs. She's also an avid social dancer, and is very excited about Pinewoods and the exchanges that might bring.
Eric Haas has taught at New England Conservatory, Tufts University and Wheaton College, as well as numerous early music workshops, including Amherst Early Music, the Long Island Recorder Festival and the Mideast Workshop. Mr. Haas is well known for his many transcriptions and editions for recorder. He performs on recorder and early flutes with lutenist Chris Henriksen as Pentimento and with the Renaissance flute consort Travessada. He served for many years as Music Director of the Boston Recorder Society and manages the retail division of the von Huene Workshop, Inc.
Equally at home on fiddle and viola, Eric Martin is a dance musician who brings joy and soulful expression to many folk dance idioms. Through the freedom and improvisation inherent in traditional music, Eric enjoys the opportunity to break away from his Classical background while playing for English country dances, contra dances, festivals, balls, camps, and concerts throughout the U.S. and Canada with Alchemy, Axelrod-Martin duo, and Coincidance. Eric holds performance degrees from Ithaca College and University of Limerick, Ireland and lives and works at Gould Farm, a therapeutic farming community, in the Berkshires.
Eric Schedler plays accordion and piano for contra and English country dancing with Midwest-based bands the Cosmic Otters and Supertrad. With his playing firmly rooted in traditional Irish music, Eric has performed and taught at camps and festivals around the country, and currently serves as program director of the all-ages Cumberland Dance Week, a project of the Lloyd Shaw Foundation, of which Eric is also a member of the board of directors. Eric lives in Bloomington, IN with his wife, Katie Zukof, where they run a family dance series, raise their two daughters and operate a brick-oven bakery.
Everest Witman provides a compelling and driving backup guitar style. He found the traditional music scene in in his early teens growing up in Brattleboro, VT and quickly fell in love with music and dancing. Everest plays in the DADGAD tuning and draws from a variety of musical traditions, especially Irish, to create a versatile and satisfying sound. Everest also plays with the neo-trad trio Nova, and these days he is particularly excited about Balfolk music and playing low whistle.
Frances Conover Fitch has toured extensively in North America and Europe and performs with many prominent early music ensembles. She helped found the groundbreaking ensemble for 17th-century music, Concerto Castello, and has been described as a “delightfully inventive and compelling” continuo player. Ms. Fitch has participated in major music festivals, including Tanglewood, Aix-en-Provence, Pepsico Summerfare, Tage Alter Musik (Regensburg), the Boston Early Music Festival, and the Festival de Musica Antigua in Mexico. Ms. Fitch has made more than a dozen recordings, including a double CD of music by Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, featuring something from every compositional genre she explored. Her playing has been noted for its “precision and delicacy of wit.” She was a member of the faculty of the Longy School of Music for nearly three decades, and served as Chair of the Early Music department there. In 2006, Longy awarded her the George Seaman Award for Excellence in the Art of Teaching. Ms. Fitch is on the faculties of Tufts and Brandeis Universities and The New England Conservatory. In 2012-13, she was Guest Professor at Ferris University in Yokohama, Japan. With Jack Ashworth of the University of Louisville, she is co-author of the figured bass workbook, Running the Numbers. She also maintains a private studio in the Boston area, and is Minister of Music at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Beverly Farms, MA.
Fynn Crooks used to have a fear of hurdles, but she got over it. Oh, that’s terrible! As a storyteller, humorist, and teacher Fynn has been sharing bad jokes, tough riddles, and a healthy enthusiasm for life with her students, young and old, for a decade. She loves leading group games to encourage communication, cooperation and just plain goofiness. You might find Fynn launching a rubber chicken across camp, leading a silly circus, lifeguarding, telling a folktale, teaching the art of marshmallow catapults, or just dancing with wild abandon. Whatever she does, you’ll sure want to join in the fun - her energy is infectious, but don’t worry, she washes her hands often!
Gaye Fifer has been calling at dance weekends for many years. Her pleasant style and graceful teaching put dancers at ease and set the stage for a great dance experience. She has also taught numerous waltz workshops at virtually every dance weekend in the East. She now lives in Pittsburgh, PA. and travels whenever she gets the opportunity. Gaye is currently President of CDSS and has a passionate interest in organizing to support dance community leaders and organizers.
Gene Murrow has been an English country dancer and musician since 1965 and has taught and called since 1988 at clubs, workshops, festivals and balls throughout the U.S. as well as Britain, Europe and Japan. As a dance musician he performs on recorders and concertina, has made four CD recordings for dances of Fried Herman and Gary Roodman, and is the Producer of the series of English dance recordings featuring the Boston-based band Bare Necessities. At the 2001 EFDSS/Dolmetsch Historical Dance Society conference in London he was invited to present a paper tracing the history of English country dancing in America, and in 2004 he was honored as the featured country dance caller and teacher at the gala 50th anniversary of England’s Sidmouth International Festival. He has returned to England many times to teach Festivals, Gatherings, and club dates across the country. In 2006, he toured Japan for two weeks teaching English dance workshops, where he returned in 2011 to instruct over 200 folk dance teachers at the National Folk Dance Federation annual conference. Gene approaches English country dance as a medium in which dancers and musicians alike participate in the realization of works of art. His dance workshops strive to make their richness of structure, musical form, texture, and affect enjoyable and appreciated by dancers of all abilities. Gene is the founder and Executive Director of Gotham Early Music Scene, a service and advocacy organization for early music in New York City, and has served on the Board of Directors of CDSS, Early Music America, and the American Recorder Society. He currently is a member of the Board of Pinewoods Camp, Inc.
Graham Christian started dancing English and Scottish at Swarthmore College. He has taught English country dance all over the U.S. as well as in England and Europe. He has studied Renaissance and Baroque dance with Dorothy Olsson, Kaspar Mainz and Ken Pierce, and has created many reconstructions of Playford-era dance. In 2015, CDSS published, as part of its Centennial celebrations, The Playford Assembly, a major collection of more than 125 historical dances interpreted for modern dancers, with scholarly apparatus; that volume is now in its second printing. He is the author of the popular dance history column Tell Me More for the CDSS News. He is also a stage director: past projects include Trial by Jury, The Pirates of Penzance, H. M. S. Pinafore, Patience, Gianni Schicchi, Carmen, and Brigadoon. He is the co-founder of the acclaimed art song concert series Songs and Serenades with soprano Libby Maxey, and has recently begun concertizing as a solo pianist, with a repertoire that extends from Schubert and Bach to contemporary rags.
Hannah Naiman recently moved up to North Bay, ON where she leads early childhood music classes, as well as dance and music workshops for elementary school kids. A singer/songwriter in her own right, Hannah has recently released her second album of original Appalachian roots music called Know The Mountain. Hannah is an oldtime square dance caller, and a regular at Toronto's old-time square dance series, Hogtown Hoedown. A camper since the age of 7, Hannah is thrilled to be program director this year at Camper's Week!
Héloïse Degrugillier (recorder) has worked extensively as both a recorder performer and teacher throughout Europe and the U.S. She has performed with leading period ensembles, including the Boston Early Music Festival Opera, Newport Baroque, Harmonious Blacksmith, the Dunya Ensemble and L'Academie. Recent performances include a concert at the Indianapolis Early Music festival that was praised by the Indianapolis Nuvo: “Recorder players Justin Godoy and Héloïse Degrugillier blended their dissimilar-looking instruments to near perfection.” Héloïse also enjoys an active teaching career, working with the Boston Recorder Society, Recorder Guild of New York and others. She has recently completed her studies in the Alexander Technique and has a Masters in Music from the Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands. She studied recorder with Heiko ter Scheggett, Saskia Coolen and Pedro Memelsdorff.
Hi I'm Hope Tarter! I'm from Berea Kentucky and I've been working in childcare for three years now. I am currently working for Kentucky River Foothills in the Early Head Start program where I spend most of my time with two & three year olds. I love to travel, read, and drink black coffee.
Jaige Trudel grew up studying classical violin and cello, and discovered traditional fiddle styles in her early teens. She is a full-time professional folk musician, performing at festivals, concert and dance venues, and giving workshops throughout the US, Canada and abroad. She has toured extensively with the band Crowfoot, which she co-founded, and in recent years has maintained a busy touring schedule with her current project, Maivish. She is also a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, and specializes in working with musicians, dancers and artists. Jaige regularly composes music inspired by the traditional influences of her French, Irish and American heritage.
Jamie Platt has been running sound for dances, dance weekends, concerts, festivals, and other special events in the DC area and beyond for many years. He works hard to make sure that the musicians are happy, so they devote their attention to making great music. He’s honored to work with such a wonderful staff.
Jan Elliott began her recorder studies at age 3. Her first teachers were Ruth Guillard, student of Bernard Krainis (and wife of a founding Pinewoods Morris Man), and school music teacher and early music specialist Patricia C. Brown. Later she explored advanced baroque repertoire with W. Britt Wheeler at Wesleyan University, earning a BA in music and education. Her MA thesis from UCLA focused on dance and music relations, and she happily straddles both worlds. She currently maintains a private teaching studio, directs the Woods Hole Recorder Consort, and performs with Ensemble Passacaglia, a quartet specializing in medieval, renaissance and world music. She has been a guest artist with Oyez! and Philidor early music ensembles as well as the Solstice Singers, Falmouth Chorale, Mastersingers-by the Sea and Proteus Consort. She also has an active life in the worlds of traditional music and dance, teaching morris and sword dance at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod, directing the Vineyard Swordfish and playing for the Pinewoods Morris Men. She has been on staff at many Pinewoods sessions, including Early Music week, and now serves on the board of Pinewoods Camp, Inc.
Following many delightful years of leading the Teachers Course at CDSS’s Family Week at Ogontz, Jane Miller returns to her other great joy, teaching crafts, songs and games to children. Before joining the faculty at Antioch New England Graduate School in the 1990s, she founded and taught at Price Farm School, an independent elementary school in New Hampshire. For many summers, she taught children’s classes at CDSS’s Family Week at Pinewoods; she is thrilled to return, with two generations of family, to teach here again.
Janine Smith calls Contra, Square, Family, and Ceilidh dances in the Washington, DC area. She shares her humorous (OK, sometimes goofy) and infectious passion for music and dance with dancers from Glen Echo, MD to Seattle, WA and specializes in whoopin' it up, regardless of dance formation. Known for her “Singing Squares”, she is one of the “Hot Square Babes”, a quintet of callers who throw a monthly Square Dance Party in College Park, MD, and a founding member of the DC Square Dance Collective.
Jesse Ball spent his earliest years dancing in a sling around his parents’ shoulders. Beginning his musical adventures with classical piano, he eventually found his way back to traditional music after drawing influence from Jazz, Fusion, Andean Folk & Indian Classical genres. Now he plays for dances and concert all around New England and beyond. He's also an avid tunesmith, with compositions having found their way into the music of his bands Rift, Polaris, and Calluna. When he’s not playing music, he can be found dancing, working as a sound tech, or growing garlic.
Joanna Reiner has taught English dance, Scottish dance and longsword for over a decade. Her calling has taken her from Amherst to Ann Arbor, from NEFFA to Hey Days, including several sessions at Pinewoods Camp. Joanna led the Philadelphia-based Germantown Country Dancers English dance demonstration team for many years, is an avid dance gypsy, and in her spare time, works to support her dance habit.
John Devine is much loved by the Family Week community as the Pied Piper and as a solid mountain of rhythm guitar for all styles of country dancing from English to New England to Southern, with a not-so-secret leaning toward swing songs and joy. He has one of the most beautiful voices you'll ever hear. He brings a gentle power to all that he does, whether playing guitar, singing songs or tending his farm just over the ridge in northeast West Virginia.
Jonathan Jensen is an inspired pianist in musical styles ranging from English country and contra to ragtime and jazz. Jon is a composer of brilliant dance tunes and waltzes, a frequent performer at dance events and a bassist with the Baltimore Symphony. When not playing piano at camp he is often filling in on whistle, recorder, ocarina or mandolin and offering his original songs, both silly and serious.
Jonathan Van Gieson
Jonathan Van Gieson has attended Camper's week since 1986. With the exception of that first year, when he was 12, he has been a teenager for every one of those years, and is therefore an expert on the topic. Outside camp, he is a producer, performer, and emcee for shows off-Broadway, off-off-Broadway, and beyond, in places from his hometown of NYC to Las Vegas to Vienna, and is currently in grad school studying Creative Writing for Children.
Julie Metcalf, fiddler and violist, can often be spotted at contra and English dances in the Boston area, either on stage playing fiddle or on the dance floor. Coming from a family of musicians, she was encouraged to make music from an early age; Julie picked up the violin for the first time when she was 4 years old and has been playing ever since. Julie holds a degree in Violin Performance from Berklee College of Music, where she studied traditional and contemporary styles music. She has played Celtic chamber music with the Folk Arts Quartet and Mexican music with Boston's Mariachi Palenque. Julie currently performs with the Agnostic Fiddle Insurgency and The Gig Hunters. Julie is also an accomplished jawharp player. She plays jawharps from around the world, as well as other unusual instruments including the marxolin and mouth bow, in concert with Larry Unger.
Julie Vallimont performs nationwide on piano and accordion for contra dances, English and Scottish dance, French bal folk, and concerts. She is known for her sensitive accompaniment, skill in matching the music to the dance, and music with heart. Drawing on teaching skills developed over fifteen years as a natural science educator, Julie enjoys leading workshops and teaching. She is also an experienced live sound engineer. When she has time, she makes crankies, paper art, and pottery.
Kappy Laning enjoys teaching English ritual dances (rapper, longsword, border morris and garland) to children, teens and adults. She has been inspiring her class participants to work together and create exciting performances at many dance camps over the last 25 years. Kappy is a contra and English country dance caller and has been CDSS's Mid-Atlantic Camp Director since 1998.
Karen Axelrod is highly regarded for her creative piano playing at English, American and Scottish dance events around the country. She is in the band Foxfire, Alchemy with Eric Martin and Rachel Bell, and Peregrine Road with Rachel Bell. Karen plays accordion with 3rd String Trio, a band that plays old world cafe music. She also plays accordion for Orion Longsword. She loves the ensemble aspect of playing for dancing, as well as the close connection between what the musicians do and what the dancers do. When not playing music, Karen spends her time coming in last in marathons.
Karina Wilson is a Southwestern favorite fiddler, hailing from Santa Fe, NM. The daughter of a noted caller and organizer, Karina has been playing fiddle and going to dances since age five. Starting with classical violin, she has mastered Zimbabwean marimba on her way to swing dance fiddling, with a hot rhythmic style that rocks and rips at your heart strings at the same sweet time.
Kate Barnes has been playing more instruments, in more genres, in more interesting locations, for longer than most of us can remember. She currently plays in the Latter Day Lizards, Bare Necessities, Celantrio and a myriad of pickup bands. Kate also keeps herself busy with teaching, recording, publishing music books, composing, ceramics and wisecrackery.
www.katiemartucci.com for more details on upcoming projects.Hailing from the rich musical history of the Catskill Mountains in New York State, Katie Martucci grew up singing, and playing fiddle and guitar. The daughter of a jazz pianist, she began performing with her father at a young age. By the first grade, she was writing her own songs and playing for tips. Her musical journeys led her to the Ashokan Western and Swing Week, vocal lessons with Laurel Masse of Manhattan Transfer, a brief stint of collegiate acappella at Skidmore College and ultimately, to the New England Conservatory. Since graduating NEC, Katie has toured the country with her trio The Ladles, founded the Tucci Swing Orchestra (a 9 piece jazz band playing Boswell Sister inspired arrangements of classic swing rep) and begun recording and performing under her own name. Visit
Katie Zukof is a dancer, caller, bakery owner and mother of two young girls. She has led engaging children's classes at two Lloyd Shaw Foundation camps, Terpsichore's Dance Holiday and Cumberland Dance Week and also serves as the registrar for Cumberland. She runs a family dance series in Bloomington, IN with her husband, Eric Schedler.
Katy German grew up in Berea, Kentucky - a community full of song and dance traditions from Appalachia, England, and Denmark. She was a member of the traveling youth performance team The Berea Festival Dancers, with whom she traveled to Denmark, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Katy's passion is working with youth, inter-generational, and beginning-level dancers. She's been on staff at many family dance weeks, including Pinewoods, Buffalo Gap, Cumberland Dance Week, and Lady of the Lake. During her six years in the Chapel Hill area, she helped coordinate monthly family dances. She now lives in Asheville, NC, singing, dancing, and calling family dances. She remains very involved with Christmas Country Dance School in Berea, as a program adviser, youth program coordinator, and class instructor. Katy is currently the Executive Director of CDSS.
Kelsey Wells came into the world with her feet still, her mouth shut, and her eyes wide open. Since then, she has discovered the joys of old-time fiddling, folk dancing, storytelling, and various other traditional arts. Though rooted in the heritage of Appalachian music, she works to create intercultural musical communities and has a keen interest in the fiddling styles of Western North Carolina, southern Sweden, and a few places in between. Kelsey plays fiddle, banjo, and mbira and currently performs in the popular contra dance band Turnip the Beet, with Vermont-based folk musician Brendan Taaffe, and as a musical accompanist for her ma, poet Kory Wells.
Kerry Ryer-Parke grew up in a house full of music. Her parents founded the South Shore Folk Music Club near Boston, where they held weekly singing parties and hosted performers of all folk traditions. As a trio with their father, Kerry and twin sister Kelly began performing at folk festivals and coffeehouses at the age of six. Known for their macabre taste in children’s songs, they later became known for their vocal harmonies. Studying classical voice gave Kerry the versatility to perform in almost every genre from new music, opera and early music to jazz and rock. She is an Artist Associate in Voice at Williams College, and teaches full-time at Bennington College. She has directed the Bennington Children’s Chorus since 1994, and has been the lead singer and bass player for the rock band The Prescription since 1997. Interest in world music has taken her to Portugal, Sardinia and Turkey, and she has travelled to Corsica and Bosnia in recent years with Village Harmony. Kerry believes in communities singing together, and that anyone can learn to sing.
Kristen Planeaux is an emerging pianist on the English and American dance scenes; she brings bold rhythm and warm, imaginative harmony to melodies both traditional and modern. She plays widely with her band The Ripples and has collaborated with a variety of folk musicians from Tennessee to New Hampshire. She also calls contra dances and co-organizes Form the Ocean, a new contra dance retreat for women. Kristen has made a living teaching music to children for almost a decade, but look out, she'll sing and dance with folks of every age! For the last year, she's spent her spare moments upside-down in the delightful world of acroyoga.
Laurel Swift is an inspiring instigator of creative new projects and performances rooted in the folk arts. Laurel has choreographed and devised national touring dance productions for Morris Offspring, co-created and performed Under Her Skin with Debs Newbold, advised theatre and film companies on using folk music and dance material, performed and taught at festivals in the UK and America, founded an organization to develop youth folk arts projects, teaches and contributes to education projects in the UK, and performs on fiddle, double bass and clogs with her bands including Gadarene, Ben Moss, and The Gloworms.
Laurie Andres plays accordion and piano for old-time New England contra and square dancing, English country dance and klezmer music. Neither the dance world nor Laurie have been the same since he picked up and forgot to put down the piano accordion in 1977. A master of musical whimsy, Laurie propels dancers and their feet into fits of rhapsodic frenzy with his infectiously rhythmic playing. His playing is renowned for its wit, color, emotion, and compelling danceability. Laurie has played for community dances, dance and music festivals, and concerts all over the US, Canada, and Europe. He has lead a monthly English Country Dance in Seattle since 1984.
Leslie Jeanne Devine Milbourne
Leslie Jeanne Devine Milbourne is our Earth Educator and Nature Goddess and an environmental educator who relishes exploring, discovering and learning how the earth works, and helping others discover the natural beauty around us. She has worked extensively in her field for over 15 years with preschoolers through college students. We are never separate from nature; Leslie helps us to open our senses to the world in which we live. With daughter, Chenaya, and husband, John Devine, she lives just down the road from Timber Ridge Camp where she and John operate their own nature and music camp.
Leslie Sudock has made community-building a way of life in all her endeavors as a public interest attorney, musician, artist and neighbor. A trained musicologist and early music specialist (voice and viol), Leslie’s musical life included performance as a professional orchestral choral singer with the Philadelphia Orchestra, ensemble soloist, and voice teacher. An exhibited textile artist, Leslie makes community art a way of life through textile, printmaking and “eco-art” instruction in Philadelphia’s schools, park recreations centers, and in her own community studio, Ready to Hand, where she specializes in teaching improvisational SAORI weaving and related textile arts. She has led numerous CDSS community quilt projects, and her all-camp indigo dyeing and weaving projects have inspired campers of all ages annually. Leslie and her family have attended CDSS family camps at Kinder Ring, Pinewoods, Buffalo Gap and Timber Ridge for two decades. She lives in Philadelphia with her sometime Morris-dancer Dan Drecksage and large “granddogs” Sadie and Solo.
Lily Leahy grew up dancing and singing at CDSS’ Family Week at Pinewoods and has been hooked ever since. She started dancing Longsword and Morris at age 10 on Hop Brook Morris, and continued on to dance with Boston-area based Orion Longsword for 14 years. She has taught longsword, morris dancing, and other traditional dances and songs to children for both Revels Education Programs and at the Wellesley Community Children’s Center After School Programs, where she worked full time up until having her first daughter 9 years ago. Lily currently resides in the Cork area of Ireland with her husband and two daughters. She is a music educator and conductor of a children's choir at a local school and enjoys singing with two choirs, one of which she has recently started and conducts. Lily has had the pleasure of teaching at Family Weeks at both Pinewoods and Ogontz and is very much looking forward to returning to Ogontz this summer!
Lisa Greenleaf has been treating dancers across the country to her high spirited, witty calling for many years, and is known for precise walk-throughs of zesty and flowing dances. Whether she is presenting cool contras, hot squares, or focused callers' workshops, Lisa engages the crowd with her humor and community spirit.
Lisa Terry (viola da gamba, violoncello) practices, performs and teaches viola da gamba and violoncello in New York City, where she is a member of Parthenia and the Dryden Ensemble (Princeton). Lisa is principal cellist and viol soloist with Tempesta di Mare, Philadelphia’s baroque orchestra, and she serves the Viola da Gamba Society of America as President. Lisa teaches viola da gamba and cello privately in New York and at workshops around the country, with expertise in technique analysis and discovery; baroque viol solo repertoire; lyra viol; and ensemble coaching (especially ‘how to work well as a chamber ensemble’). She was a founding member of ARTEK, and has performed with the New York Philharmonic, New York City Opera, Juilliard Opera Orchestra, Opera Lafayette, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Winter Park Bach Festival, Bethlehem Bach Festival, Concert Royal, New York Collegium, American Classical Orchestra, Four Nations Ensemble, Santa Fe Pro Musica and Chicago Opera Theatre.
Lise Brown went from playing classical music to Latin music, then to swing, and then to contra and English Country Dance. She believes that all music is one music, and likes to combine elements from the various genres in her playing, arranging, and composing. Lise has performed and led workshops at music festivals and dance camps throughout the US and Europe, and is the leader and arranger of the contra dance big band, Big Bandemonium.
Liza Malamut regularly appears as a sackbut specialist with the country's premier early music groups. Engagements have included performances with the Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Camerata, Music of the Baroque, Seraphic Fire, The Sebastians, Trinity Baroque, the Boston Early Music Festival, Piffaro, Baroque Orchestration X, Apollo's Fire, The Green Mountain Project, Mercury! The Orchestra Redefined, Dark Horse Consort, Boston Baroque, and others. Liza is the recipient of a 2017-2018 American Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the American Association of University Women for her work on the integration of historical performance practice with mainstream teaching. She looks forward to receiving the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Historical Trombone from Boston University in Spring 2018. Liza has given master classes and coachings at Boston University, Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, Tufts University, Loyola University, University of Central Oklahoma, and Northeastern University. In 2015, Liza served as Visiting Lecturer in Sackbut at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and she continues to teach students in her home city of Boston. Liza holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Boston University, where she studied modern trombone with John Marcellus and Don Lucas, respectively. After receiving her Master of Music degree, she spent a year touring the United States with her Indiana-based chamber ensemble, appearing with the Buffalo Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and at many other venues across America. Her work with children and students has inspired various large-scale outreach projects, including several family-friendly productions of Heinrich Schütz's Weihnachtshistorie, staged in New York and Boston in collaboration with the New York-based vocal collective Musica Nuova; and Singen und Sagen: Music for Hope in a Time of War, a concert of works by Michael Praetorius in collaboration with the Schola Cantorum of Rochester. For these and other projects, she has been the recipient of the Paul R. Judy Polyphonic Grant and the 2017 Early Music America Outreach Grant.
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.
Mary Alice Amidon
Mary Alice Amidon is a warm and engaging music educator who is passionate and dedicated to song, dance and storytelling with young children. She is a multi-instrumentalist, an accomplished singer of traditional song, and a composer of new songs. As a performer she is gifted in forging a bridge between story, music and listener. As a song leader she inspires open-hearted, full throttle participation.
Matt Norman works with all aspects of traditional English music as a performer and teacher. As a workshop leader he has a relaxed and friendly style which puts participants at their ease but also gets high quality results. Matt Currently runs two folk choirs which sing his arrangements of English folk songs and carols. Even though they have no auditions both choirs sing to a high standard and have performed in prestigious venues and Festivals. He has produced two books of his choir arrangements and regularly runs singing workshops. Matt is one of a handful of people keeping the Dartmoor stepdance tradition alive. This unique tradition is from the North East corner of Dartmoor in Devon, it is a percussive style and characterized by the 15 inch board on which it's performed. He has run many workshops and has been stepdance champion three times. Matt performs in two bands; Gadarene combines 17th and 18th Century English tunes with modern dance beats and The Bristol Ceilidh Quartet plays for social dances. Both bands have performed at folk festivals across the country. Matt is also a solo performer playing mandolin, fiddle and piano, for dance and in concerts.
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.
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.
Guitar and mandolin player Max Newman has made a living as a practitioner of traditional music for the past decade and half. Dance music is his central focus, as well as the community that stems from it. In addition to making music, Max co-organizes several events, including Youth Dance Weekend, a camp dedicated to developing leadership among the next generation of contra and English participants. He also worked for CDSS as the Youth Projects Intern, leading workshops and developing materials for dance organizers, callers, and musicians.
Michael Barrett is a Boston-based conductor, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and teacher. He has performed with many professional early-music ensembles, including Blue Heron, the Boston Camerata, the Huelgas Ensemble, Vox Luminis, the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Nederlandse Bachvereniging (Netherlands Bach Society), L’Académie, Seven Times Salt, Schola Cantorum of Boston, and Exsultemus. He can be heard on the harmonia mundi, Blue Heron, and Coro record labels. Michael has served as music director of Convivium Musicum since 2007. He also directs the Meridian Singers, a vocal ensemble based at MIT, and has served as guest director of Cantilena, a women’s chorus in Arlington, and as a visiting lecturer in choral conducting at Bridgewater State University. Michael is currently an Assistant Professor at the Berklee College of Music, where he teaches conducting courses for undergraduates. He is also Lecturer in Music at Boston University, where he teaches seminars in Renaissance and Baroque choral repertoire for graduate choral conducting students. With his wife Anney he is co-owner of The Green Room, a multipurpose arts studio in Union Square, Somerville, where he maintains a private studio for lessons in voice and music theory. Michael earned an AB in music from Harvard University, an MM in choir conducting from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and a First Phase Diploma in Baroque and Classical singing from the Koninklijk Conservatorium (Royal Conservatory) in The Hague, The Netherlands. In 2015 he completed his DMA in choral conducting at Boston University.
Michelle L O’Connor (Levy) has been performing on and exploring the possibilities of bowed string instruments for over 27 years. O’Connor studied medieval vielle with Shira Kammen, earned a Masters in Ritual Chant & Song from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance (University of Limerick), and studied music at Brown University. She has performed internationally with an eclectic variety of ensembles, including Jordi Savall & Hespèrion XXI, Keltia Productions, and The Boston Camerata. She’s been a featured performer at the Vancouver Early Music Festival (2013) with Sequentia & The Elaine Adair Ensemble as well as at the Connecticut Early Music Festival (2010) with Istanpitta Early Music Ensemble, and at the New England Folk Festival 2013 (NEFFA) with her folk dance band, TriTonic. She enjoys playing fiddle for contra and English country dance camps in the woods as well as performing with Shira Kammen's Class V Music, an ensemble dedicated to creating music on whitewater rafting trips.
The Mills family first came to this camp in the year 2000, and fell in love. Having worn many hats as staff members, crew members, and even auctioneer assistants, the Mills have enjoyed this camp from many angles. Now, they are all looking forward to giving their last hurrah as program directors, as their three year position comes to a close. As a family, they enjoy playing music, dancing, and singing together. As individuals, each brings a unique set of interests and skills to camp.
* Janet Mills is the mother and chief logistical strategist. She teaches elementary music, and enjoys a good book. She plays an impressive number of instruments at the fifth grade level.
* Robert Mills is the father and official piano accompanist of the family. He also plays accordion, fiddle, and viola. He enjoys English dancing and calling. He appreciates a funny joke and a good Beethoven Sonata.
* Imogen Mills is the older daughter and punctuality manager. She is in her first year of teaching music at Rondout Valley Middle School. She enjoys contra dancing, English dancing, and waltzing. She loves to sing, play fiddle, and play the piano. She is also learning guitar.
* Cecily Mills is the younger daughter and head writer for the family. She enjoys English, contra, couples, and even Morris dancing. She is attending the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she is studying economics. Her main musical outlets are singing and percussion.
The Mills family hopes to create a fun and inclusive environment at camp this year, and they are looking forward to seeing you there.
Miranda Weinberg plays fiddle for English, American and Scottish dancing in the Philadelphia area. When she's not playing, she's often on the dance floor. Miranda also has a PhD in entirely unrelated matters.
Naomi Morse grew up surrounded by music and dance in the folk communities of New England. She is known for her energetic and driving fiddle playing for both contra and English dancing in many bands, including Night Watch, Housetop and the mega-fiddle-band Childsplay. She has toured extensively with the world music ensemble Northern Harmony and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she sings professionally.
Traveling frequently from her home base in Amana, Iowa, Nikki Herbst has led English country dancing and contra dancing at festivals, camps, workshops, and community dances across the U.S., Canada, and England, where she has done three calling tours. Nikki’s high-octane enthusiasm for dance is well known, and she loves to share it with dancers of all ability levels. Her programs blend traditional and modern ECD, and her teaching style combines dance instructions with the presentation of historical information, demonstrations, style tips, memory aids, and lots of positive reinforcement, all in the hope of inspiring dancers to have the most meaningful dance experience possible. She invites you to have a look at her website.
Nils Fredland has been singing in choirs since 1980, and calling dances since 2000. Respected for his expertise and clear leadership, and appreciated for his kindness and warmth, Nils is a popular caller for dancers of all ages and levels of experience. He is widely known as an engaging and skillful song leader; his primary goal is to create a welcome and safe environment for all participants, and to deliver a joyful, community-building experience through learning and singing together. Nils is the Artistic Director of Revels North, an independent arts organization based in Hanover, NH, with a 40-year history of building community through song, story, dance, and theater in the Upper Valley.
Owen Morrison is an accomplished rhythm and lead guitarist, at home in many styles of traditional music. His playing, laced with rhythmic power and skillful finesse, has made him popular among dancers and fiddlers alike. Owen has toured the U.S. and abroad with bands such as Elixir, Airdance, Night Watch and The Morrison Brothers Band. A frequent staff member and Program Director at Pinewoods, Ashokan, Augusta, and many other camps.
Patrick Swanson began his career in London as an actor at the Arts Theatre. In 1969, he toured Europe with La MaMa Plexus and subsequently got his world theater education from Ellen Stewart at La MaMa E.T.C. in New York. His numerous directing projects include opera, ensemble, music theater and circus. He was a founding stage director of Circus Flora and is currently Artistic Director of Revels. Patrick taught acting and improvisation at the London Academy of Dramatic Art, the London Drama Centre, and New York University. Directing credits include the Spoleto USA festival; Houston's Alley Theatre and Boston's Charles Playhouse. His Actor's Shakespeare Project production of King Lear with Alvin Epstein was nominated for three 2006 Elliot Norton awards. His most recent acting performance was for Gloucester Stage in their 20th anniversary production of Fighting over Beverley. For Revels, Patrick has directed a contemporary version of the medieval mystery plays. He writes and directs all Cambridge Revels scripts and with music director George Emlen, serves as consultant to the other nine Revels production companies.
Although new to the dance world since meeting his wife Lily, Paul Leahy has wholeheartedly embraced it. Paul has been a regular at dance weekends and camps over the past decade and a half. And although he started out by being dragged there, Ogontz Family week is now the highlight of his Summer. Paul is an enthusiastic singer and watcher of dancing (but has been known to partake in the odd twirl from time to time).
Peter Amidon fell into the world of traditional music in 1975 and has never turned back. He is thrilled to now be able to make a living as a freelance musician/educator/publisher: telling stories to all age groups, leading harmony singing with adults and teaching and leading dance with children, teachers and families. Peter Amidon, a founding member of New England Dancing Masters, publishers of books, CDs and DVDs of traditional dance for children and community dancing, leads workshops on leading dance with children and communities throughout the United States, often headlining (with Mary Alice Amidon) at state and national music teacher conferences. His choral arrangements are being sung by community, church and hospice choirs throughout the U.S. and the UK. He has led dancing and singing with children and adults at CDSS Camps for thirty-five years.
Rachel Fifer was first introduced to contra dancing when her father dropped her on her head as a particularly wild neighbor swung him off balance. Gaye Fifer leapt dramatically off the stage, only to discover that baby Rachel was unharmed, yet would have a lifetime connection to contra dancing. Rachel has since sampled every dance and music style she could. She is fascinated by the history of our creative communities and the ways that we honor our roots by continuing to both remember our past and move towards intentional progress. Let's explore and celebrate our roots of movement and music together!
Rani Arbo has been singing with and for others since she joined a cathedral choir in 3rd grade. In the last 20 years, she's toured North America with a four-piece string band, singing lead and harmony, playing fiddle and guitar, writing and arranging songs, and interpreting music from sources as diverse as Fiddlin’ John Carson, Bessie Jones, and Leonard Cohen. She has an abiding interest in (and not nearly enough time to devote to) arts in medicine and hospice work.
Renee Brachfeld is a professional storyteller and juggler, baker, long distance runner, glass artist, and cat lover. Her work has taken her from Anchorage to Miami, from London, England to Saskatoon Saskatchewan. Her performances combine the wonder of storytelling with the unbridled joy of juggling. Renee has taught many classes for both children and adults at CDSS and Lloyd Shaw dance camps. She is co-founder of The MultiFaith Storytelling Institute. Renee lives in Washington DC with her husband, Mark Novak, and Farfel, the wonder-cat, who is at home destroying the furniture.
Rick Mohr's calling and choreography have been delighting dancers across North America and beyond for 25 years. Known for top-notch contra repertoire, good humor, and crystal-clear calling, Rick leads memorable dance sessions that maximize fun and connection. He is also a longtime dance fiddler and harmony singer, with a stable of great chorus songs to share.
Robin Hayden leads English country dancing in her home community of Amherst, MA, and at workshops, weekends, camps, festivals, and balls across North America. The range of expressiveness in English country dance has beguiled and inspired her as a dancer going on 37 years now. As a leader, she is particularly interested in techniques for understanding, articulating, and improving the way we move, and thus the way we express ourselves within this idiom – individually, as partners, and as a set. Robin finds further outlet for her passion and eloquence as the Director of Development for CDSS.
Roger Reed, better known as Roger the Jester, has 40 years of experience as a master of mirth in his bag of tricks, as well as innumerable feats of object manipulation, magic, music and mayhem. Laughter guaranteed.
Sam Bartlett is a traditional musician known throughout the US for his mandolin, banjo, and guitar playing as well as his original music. His compositions have been profiled on NPR’s All Things Considered and his playing has been featured on the Thistle & Shamrock, and in two Ken Burns documentaries, Prohibition and The Dust Bowl. Sam has recorded with a virtual who’s who of traditional musicians, among them: Garry Harrison, Paul Brown, Eden MacAdam-Somer, Rafe Stefanini, Pete Sutherland, Dirk Powell, Rodney Miller, David Greely, and Rick Good. Sam is also a master entertainer, and author of The Best of Stuntology (Workman, 2008) which is sold internationally and translated into Finnish and German. As an artist, Sam has for the past 20 years played a role in the resurgent interest in the 19th-century entertainment form, the moving panorama, or “crankie show.”
Sarah Mead teaches, performs, and proselytizes polyphony in the Boston area. She is a Professor of the Practice of Music at Brandeis University where she has directed vocal and historical instrument ensembles and taught music history since 1982; she currently chairs their interdepartmental program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. In 2007 she received the Thomas Binkley Award from Early Music America for outstanding achievement in performance and scholarship by the director of a collegium musicum. She served as Music Director of the annual Conclave of the Viola da Gamba Society of America for seven years and oversaw their 50th anniversary celebration. Overseas she has performed and taught in Brazil, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, and is a sought-after lecturer and ensemble-coach in the US, where she is a founding member and music director of Nota Bene Viol Consort. Her editions and commentary on both recent and historical works for viols are published four times a year in the Newsletter of the VdGSA under the title "NewsMusic," and her original music for viol consort is published by PRB.
Sarah Nicholson feels blessed to have been born and raised in Antigua, WI. She is grateful for her devoted husband, (Roger the Jester), of 26 years and the 3 children they have raised together. She is honored to be a doula, earlier for birth and now for transition and end of life, serving elders and others in their homes. She is passionate about choosing joy and sharing it with others.
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.
Scott Higgs has been calling and composing English and contra dances for over 25 years -- delighting novices and experts alike. From Seattle to Antwerp, dancers praise Scott's engaging programs, dynamic presentation, and emphasis on fun. His business card says it all: Playful, spirited, elegant, zesty, joyful contra, English, morris, and couple dancing.
Susan Kevra is a dance caller, musician, and singer who makes her home in Nashville, TN. She travels across the country and occasionally, around the globe to teach contra, square dances, English Country dancing and French dancing. She is an accomplished clarinetist and a member of the band, Old World Charm School, who perform French café music and English Country dance tunes. Inspired by tunes by her bandmate, Rachel Bell, she has choreographed a dozen English dances and counting, including Trip to Provence and Moonflower which are making their way onto dance floors and ball programs in the US and England. She is also a professor of French and American Studies at Vanderbilt University, where she teaches a class, American Social History through Dance.
Suzannah Park comes from a family of three generations of ballad singers, storytellers, and dancers. Her interest in the performance and study of traditional music of many kinds has taken her from music-filled kitchens to concert halls across the U.S. and Europe. Whether she’s teaching American ballads, South African or Bulgarian village songs, good times abound. When not on tour with the Starry Mountain Singers or Village Harmony, Suzannah lives in the NC mountains of her birth where she dances with the Green Grass Cloggers and leads the Wild Asheville Community Chorus.
Wade Bartlett is a family week veteran making his debut as a staff musician in 2018. He’s a classically trained violinist who studied at the Indiana University String Academy for nine years with internationally known professor of pedagogy, Mimi Zweig. He is currently the principal second violinist in his high school strings orchestra, and recently successfully defended his chair in a blind challenge. He has recurrent dreams of being able to use The Force.
Wendy Graham Settle
Wendy Graham is a self-described "dance maniac." Her passion for music, song and dance caught fire in 1991 a youth dance tour in Denmark. Today, Wendy leads English, American, and couples dances in Durango, CO, across the country, and abroad -- as far away as Alaska, England and Denmark. She proudly served on the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) board and is currently a Lifetime Contribution Award committee member.
Will Mentor is a contra and square dance caller from Northern Vermont known for his clear teaching, upbeat wit, and relaxed stage presence. He loves to choreograph evenings with a variety of dances and tempos that at times surprise and always delight, all the while keeping intact his guiding principle as a caller: "It's about the dancers!"