fwogontz denise smith

August 1 - 8, 2015




Come and celebrate the CDSS Centennial at Family Week at Ogontz in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire! We will celebrate the gifts that CDSS has brought to families over the last 100 years and our special Ogontz traditions as well. As always, it will be a week filled with music, song, dance, stories and laughs and promises to be an incredible family vacation. Join us for the special CDSS at Ogontz magic of humor, friendship and community that brings us back year after year.

To celebrate the centennial we bring together an extraordinarily gifted staff of recent Ogontz favorites, as well as leaders who helped create the Ogontz Family Week in its early years. We are also excited to welcome Kevin Carr, multi-instrumentalist and storyteller from California. He may be new to Ogontz, but he has thrilled dancers for years as part of the famed Hillbillies from Mars, as well as his own family’s band and as a storyteller at festivals and school programs throughout the U.S.

Our dance leaders this week will be Steve Zakon-Anderson and Brad Foster. Steve has performed at dance camps and festivals throughout the U.S. for 30 years, but Ogontz Family Week is his favorite place to share his expertise, always laced with humor. Brad, who is the past Executive Director of CDSS, will lead the English Country Dancing and share some of his CDSS stories as part of our celebration. Together, their experience is almost as old as CDSS itself! The music will amaze as we welcome Foxfire - the incredible English Country Dance band of Daron Douglas and Karen Axelrod. Playing for contras with Kevin Carr, and leading our Ukulele Orchestra, will be the wonderful Max Newman on mandolin and guitar.

og13 08 08 10.39.27 c4c6f042Ogontz campers love to sing and who better to lead us then Stefan Amidon and Zara Bode. Stefan and Zara are part of the internationally renowned honky-tonk band The Sweetback Sisters and they create beautiful harmonies in their duo The Little Green Apples. They will lead us in the Country Harmonies class and the Harmony Singing class. Stefan will also lead his popular morning session of Shape Note singing. There will be three generations of Amidons at Ogontz this year as Stefan and Zara bring our youngest camper along with them, as well as the happy grandparents, Peter and Mary Alice Amidon. Important leaders during the early years of Ogontz Family Week and known nationally for their expertise in community singing and dancing, we are thrilled to welcome Peter and Mary Alice back for the centennial celebration!

Paddy Swanson, Artistic Director of the Boston Revels, returns to help our intrepid troupe of mummers create and present another fantastic play. Lily Kruskal Leahy returns to lead both children and adults in ritual dances so important to the CDSS legacy. We are also thrilled to welcome Ellie Grace back to Ogontz after a few years absence. She takes a break from her busy graduate studies in dance at Smith College to lead us in clogging, swing and couples dancing. Ellie and Max will get the teens moving and grooving with song. body rhythms, and more. John Krumm, also an important part of the early years of Ogontz Family Week and a music educator by day, returns to play for dancing, to teach our young campers, and to lead the Family Band. John is famous for his compositions of rounds, including the Goodnight Round that has become the traditional send-off song for our 10-12s every night for years. We are so excited for you to meet him and vice versa! Bettie Zakon-Anderson will keep camp running smoothly and Fynn Crooks will bring her fun and games to camp. Together they will also tend to our youngest campers.

In the mornings we will learn and play in two periods of age-group classes and then come together for Morning Gathering - a favorite time of day when anyone might lead a song, tell a joke, and share their talents. Afternoons can be as busy or relaxing as we choose with three periods of fun classes, swimming in the crystal-clear lake, or enjoying the beautiful surroundings with friends and family. Each afternoon we’ll gather again at the Green Chairs to enjoy stories from a master teller before the dinner bell rings.

After a delicious, wholesome dinner we’ll gather at the cozy Recital Hall for the Community Dance and Evening Gathering. As dusk settles around us the Pied Piper will lead the families with children ages 9 and under to their cabins while the whole camp serenades them with our Ogontz lullaby. The parents will put their children to bed as we walk down the hill to the magnificent Ogontz Hall for the Evening Dance. Soon the parents will be able to join the dancing while roving monitors listen attentively for any children stirring in their cabins. If a child needs a parent to return, a monitor will come and get them at the dance. Similarly, after singing the 10-12s their Goodnight Round mid-dance, they go quickly and quietly to their cabins, being extra careful to not wake any of their younger, sleeping friends. We all care for each other during the days and right up to bedtime, knowing that we build our community and revel in its gifts.

Our family looks forward to sharing this special week with your family! See you at Ogontz for the CDSS centennial celebration!

Warmly, Bettie and Steve Zakon-Anderson, Program Directors


denise smith og12 3 d60a0a84Photo by Denise SmithThe American Dance Musicians Course returns, led by Keith Murphy and Becky Tracy. How lucky we are that Keith and Becky will also bring their talents to our evening dances, adding to the already phenomenal music on stage! The Teachers Training Course also returns, led by Kari Smith. The teachers that take part hope to learn from all of us so that they can bring the traditions we hold dear back to their classrooms. It is always a pleasure welcoming them into our community.

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