July 27 - August 3, 2019
Join us for a special CDSS family week at Ogontz, where the magic of tradition, humor, friendship and community brings us back year after year. This week is filled with singing, music, dancing and fun for all ages and this year we have an incredible staff of singers, multi-instrumentalists, and dance leaders! And as always, we invite campers to bring their talents to share as well!
Along with our traditional dance offerings of contras, squares, and English country and ritual dance, singers and musicians have the chance to participate in harmony singing, family band, and swap songs and tunes in a relaxed environment. Children’s classes are taught by caring and talented staff and include traditional singing and dancing. Days are full of choices in dance, song, crafts, mumming, fun games, and swimming in the crystal clear lake. Just before dinner we meet at the green chairs for story time. Twice a day campers get the opportunity to come together in a camp gathering to sing, dance, and enjoy entertainment by our talented staff and campers. And as always, our days end with a dance party and late night activities as roving monitors check on little ones asleep in their cabins.
Ogontz Camp offers woodlands and wide-open spaces where children can play, a mountain stream for exploring and a pristine lake that hosts a family of loons - perfect for swimming and canoeing. Whether you are having supper on the outdoor dining deck or simply relaxing in the circle of Adirondack chairs under the old white pine, you will enjoy peace and contentment as you take in the beauty of this piece of heaven in the foothills of the White Mountains. Delicious home cooked meals and fresh baked breads nurture your body and soul, fueling you through an unforgettable week.
~ Lily and Paul Leahy, Program Directors
|9:00-9:55||By age class period: kids can be dropped off at their class at 8:55|
|(2-3)||Little Jammers||Desiree Melegrito Halcomb|
|(4-5)||Music and Dance||Mary Alice Amidon|
|(6-7)||Move, Groove, and Create||Kristen Planeaux|
|(10-12)||Song and Dance||Peter Amidon|
|(13 & up)||English For All: Building Your ECD Toolkit||Joanna Reiner|
|(13 & up)||Cotswold Morris||Laurel Swift|
|10:15-11:10||By age class period: Kids will be taken from class to snack and on to their next class|
|(2-3)||Making Music||Rachel Bell|
|(4-5)||Musical Explorers||Desiree Melegrito Halcomb|
|(6-7)||Rhythm Band, Songs and Stories||Mary Alice Amidon|
|(8-9)||Jest, Song and Dance||Katy German, Roger Reed|
|(13 & up)||Contras and Squares||Nils Fredland|
|(13 & up)||Singing||Peter Amidon|
|11:20-12:00||Morning Gathering: dances, songs, show & tell|
|12:00-12:20||Games with Fynn for all||Fynn Crooks|
|12:30-1:00||Buffet Lunch Served|
|1:30-3:30||2-Hour Swim Block All ages, 9 & under/parent|
|1:30-2:25||All ages Napping|
|(All ages, under 8 w/parent)||Crafts||Sarah Nicholson|
|(9 and up, younger, if passionate, with parent)||All-Comers Ukulele Orchestra||Max Newman|
|(13 & up)||Advanced English: Complexity/Simplicity||Joanna Reiner|
|2:35-3:30||All ages, 9 & under w/parent Swimming or napping|
|(8 & up, younger, if passionate, w/parent)||Family Band||Becky Tracey|
|(8 & up, younger, if passionate, w/parent)||Mummers Play||Paddy Swanson|
|(13 & up)||Dance Potpouri||various teachers|
|(13-19)||Teen Class||Laurel Swift|
|(10-12, 20 & up)||The Choral Project||Nils Fredland|
|(8-12, 20 & up, undr 8 w/parent)||Circus Fun||Roger Reed, Kristen Planeaux|
|4:50-5:20||Stories at the Green Chairs||Peter Amidon, Roger Reed|
|8:00||Pied Piper/Bedtime for 9 and unders|
|8:05-10:30||After Glow and Evening Dance Party|
|9:15||Bedtime for 10-12 year olds|
|12:30||Bedtime for teens (Teen Game Night - 1:30am)|
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!
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).
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.
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.
* Karen Axelrod
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
* PROGRAM ADVISOR, plus
Life at Camp
ABOUT OGONTZ CAMP
Ogontz is a beautiful 300-acre camp near Lyman, New Hampshire, nestled in the White Mountains halfway between Lisbon and Littleton, three miles or so off Route 10. It had been used as a girls' camp for over 50 years, and in recent years has been dedicated to music, including being the summer home for the Chorus of Westerly (Rhode Island). CDSS has held programs at Ogontz since 1999.
The camp, with its own secluded lake, is surrounded by acres of woods and sunny open spaces. The Dining Room has a warm rustic charm with wooden floors and windows on three sides looking out towards the lake and open grassy fields. Meals include lots of fresh bread and desserts from the large camp bakery. There is a beautiful dance hall equipped with a hardwood floor, a stage and fireplace. Several nice meeting spaces, including a barn loft, are used for our programs. A very special and popular spot to relax, read, listen to stories or just take in the scenery is a welcoming circle of Adirondack chairs, spread out under a large tree and overlooking the lake and in view of the surrounding mountains. The waterfront has a shallow, sandy beach, as well as places for diving and deep swimming, kayaking and canoeing. There are also swing sets, tennis courts and open fields. Also on the property are hiking paths following streams and waterfalls. Their New Ogontz Hall is under construction.
Ogontz Camp is a unique place and has its own traditions. The Kent family, who runs the camp, offers a friendly welcome to all guests.
The camp is about a three hour drive from Boston, MA, and six hours from New York, NY.
The program begins with an informal gathering and tour of camp on the afternoon of the first day; followed by an orientation meeting and dance after dinner.
Arrival time is after 4:00pm on the starting Saturday. Departure time is by 10:00am the final Saturday.
You will need to bring a flashlight to find your way around at night. A battery powered or wind up alarm clock and insect repellent may be useful. If you are on a special diet, you may need to bring your own particular food. An ice chest for drinks and snacks to share at after-dance parties may be handy; there is some refrigeration available. A specific packing list is sent with acceptance information.
Don't forget to pack your swimsuit, raincoat, sweater, towels, bed linen, and blankets or a sleeping bag and pillows.
The nearest stores are a 15-30 minute drive away.
All participants are assigned on-site housing in the month before camp starts. Space is limited; we can't guarantee that all specific requests will be filled. Requests may be made on the Registration Form or with information sent later.
The rustic accommodations at Ogontz offer beautiful vistas and fresh mountain air. The Adirondack-style cabins (roofed platforms) have open sides, one wall of storage and rolldown tarps for privacy, and are generally without screens although mosquito nets are available. Each cabin accommodates a family of 2-6 people on single beds (usually). All have electric light. Shower rooms and toilet facilities are nearby. You have the option of bringing a tent (or two) to pitch on the cabin floor for added privacy and protection from bugs if it would make your family more comfortable.
Even mid-summer evenings in the New Hampshire mountains can sometimes be cold; you can be prepared by bringing extra blankets and even a soft hat to sleep in.
Housing is assigned in the month before camp starts and will be assigned based on the age of the youngest family member. Each family will be assigned its own cabin.
In the cooperative spirit of camp life, all campers have a daily job to help camp run smoothly.
Jobs are usually a half hour or less per day, every day, and the same job all week. Jobs are assigned in the month before camp starts; you have the opportunity make specific requests about your job assignment either on the Registration Form or later with your Registration Status Form.
We can't guarantee that all specific job requests will be filled, but please let us know if you have a preference or limitation (e.g., dust allergy, unable to lift heavy objects, can't stay up late, can't get up for breakfast).
At family sessions parents are generally assigned a job with their young children.
General job categories are:
- Dining room: breakfast, lunch or dinner (set/clear tables)
- Prep food (for a meal or snacks)
- Kitchen (serve food, clear, wash dishes, make coffee/tea)
- Sweeping (pavilions, community areas)
- Party help (late night party setup/cleanup)
- Clerical (office, bookstore, auction)
- Greeters (must be able to arrive by 2:00pm)
- Gopher (costume barn oversite, auction, lifting)
Some of the jobs start before breakfast. Please let us know if you are happy with an early job.
PHONE & COMPUTERS
Though your plate will be full with activities while at camp, for those of you who must keep in contact with work or home, there are options. There is first class mail and UPS service. We do ask that laptops and cell phones be kept out of the awareness of other campers. Even if you can't, others want to enjoy this time away from the reminders of work-a-day living.
There is a touch-tone phone for camper use; you will need a calling card to make long distance calls. Cell coverage is spotty at best.
The fee for the week is
DEPOSITS AND PAYMENTS
Online payments can be made with Mastercard or VISA. We can only take the amount you approve, so balance payments need to be initiated by you.
Mailed-in registrations can be paid by Mastercard, VISA or by check, made payable to CDSS, in U.S. Funds. Mail to CDSS, 116 Pleasant St Suite 345, Easthampton, MA 01027
A deposit of $150/person/week, if not paying full amount, is needed with registration.
Full cost depends on the Week and, at family programs, the ages of children.
Full payment for sessions starting before August 1: due May 20
Full payment for sessions starting on or after August 1: due June 20
There is a fee of $25 on any late payment.
Deposits/payments are processed upon receipt. In the case of cancellation from the wait list or from a session, a refund will be issued as per our cancellation policy.
We offer work scholarships to any camper in need, and named scholarships to practicing teachers, leaders and musicians. Please read about our scholarship programs before applying. Scholarship applications will be considered at the time of registration and should therefore accompany the Registration Form.
Donation in support of Scholarships are needed and gratefully accepted. If you are able to help another person benefit from our programs, you can do so by making a contribution along with your registration or at our online store. In addition, at each week of our summer camps, we hold auctions which raise money for future scholarships.
For Accepted Campers
If you have registered and been accepted, you should have received an email from Steve Howe with your status. The email may not have gone to everyone on the registration, so pleased do share with any co-registrants. The email urges you to login to CDSS Commons to view your registration and proof your contact information, housing and job requests, your meal preferences, emergency contact information and other details. See the Life at Camp tab for some housing and job options; here are links to several printable bits of important information.
Acceptance Information: This includes the cancelation and refund policy.
Getting Ready: A page with some hints on life at camp.
Packing List: Suggestions of things to bring
Directions to Camp
A letter from the Program Director
A Class Questionnaire will be available soon.
Printable page of class descriptions
Family Bio: Please use this form or a sheet of your own design for posting at camp and the historical notebook.