From Warren, RI, award-winning musician, vocalist, and dancer, Aubrey Atwater presents captivating programs of folk music, dance, and narration. Aubrey has performed throughout the US and beyond, singing and playing dulcimer, banjo, guitar, mandolin, and whistle, and thrilling audiences with her freestyle clogging. In a scholarly, yet humorous way, Aubrey conveys the heritage behind traditional folk music and dance, showing deep passion and understanding of folk history and key players. Aubrey and her husband Elwood Donnelly have thirteen recordings and eight books to their credit. http://www.atwater-donnelly.com/
Singing in Harmony; Ballads; Intermediate Mountain Dulcimer
Karen is highly regarded for her creative piano playing at English, American and Scottish dance events around the country and abroad. Karen plays accordion with 3rd String Trio, a band that plays old world cafe music. She also plays accordion for Orion Longsword. Although Karen has been playing numerous concerts lately, she still loves the interplay between dance and music and loves playing for dancers.
Elke is a veteran dance musician and concert performer, and has played a wide range of styles including contras and squares, English, Scottish, Vintage, and couple dances, at dance events across North America and indeed around the world. She’s a former U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, Washington Conservatory of Music faculty member, and Artist-in-Residence at Montgomery College, and has performed at venerable venues. Playing for dancers is one of her very favorite things…although dancing runs a close second.
Sam is a nimble, irrepressible performer on guitar, banjo and mandolin. His original compositions have been profiled on NPR¹s All Things Considered, Salon.com, and The Thistle & Shamrock. His evocative musicianship has been featured in the Ken Burns documentaries, Prohibition and The Dustbowl. Sam is known as one of this country’s most engaging dance musicians, and has been crisscrossing the States playing for dances for 30 years. He is also the author of a best-selling book on pranks and parlor tricks, The Best of Stuntology (Workman Publishing). More information can be found at stuntology.com.
Jeremy grew up singing and dancing, and has followed that path into his career. After a year researching sword dances across Europe on a Watson Fellowship, he earned an MA in Dance Knowledge, Practice, and Heritage, and just completed a year at the Eric Sahlström Institute for folk music and dance in Sweden. Jeremy sings with Windborne, a quartet that studies and performs polyphonic singing traditions from around the world. He is known for his banjo picking and powerful bass voice, along with a joyous enthusiasm for song and dance.
Rapper 101; Longsword for All; Rapper (de)constructed
David first became involved in CCDS as a kid in the 1960s, is a veteran of such notable mid-Atlantic area dance bands as Evening Star and the Capital Quicksteps Quadrille Orchestra, and has also appeared on the staff of the John C. Campbell Folk School Winter Week. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where he teaches media production at Towson University and is an active player in the Baltimore/Washington theater and music scene as a designer, composer and performer.
Intermediate/Advanced Dance Band
Eric is a graduate of Berea College, a Fine Arts major in Textiles. His festive banners, paper cuts, and decorations grace Seabury Center at CCDS. He has been making temari for over 20 years. This will be his 15th year of teaching Temari at CCDS.
Beginning Temari Craft; Intermediate Temari Craft
Chrissy grew up in the mountains of East TN and started dancing at age 7. While attending Berea College she was a Country Dancer for 3 years. Shortly after moving to Nashville in 1984 Chrissy combined her music and dance background into a calling career. Now she calls around 120 dances a year all over the southeast and a few places beyond. She is known for her calm, easy manner and fun choice of dances, be they squares, contras, English Country or Singing Games and Silly Songs for all ages.
Squares I Like; In the Beginning – Contra
Elwood is one half of the highly acclaimed husband-wife duo, Atwater-Donnelly, who presents delightful programs of traditional American and Celtic folk songs, acappella pieces, old-time gospel songs, dance tunes, and original works on guitar, Appalachian mountain dulcimer, mandolin, tin whistle, harmonica, banjo, bones, spoons, limberjacks, and other surprises including Appalachian clog dancing, French Canadian footwork, and Tap. Their performances are appealing to all ages, and with humor and a relaxed stage presence, Aubrey and Elwood explain song origins to create a deeper understanding of the music and its cultural history.
Singing in Harmony; Beginning Mountain Dulcimer; Playing Harmonica
Brad has been dancing and teaching English country, contras and squares, and Morris and sword for over forty years. He is well known for sharing the joy found in dance, and has taught throughout the US, Canada and Europe, including at Berea, Pinewoods, Mendocino, John C. Campbell Folk School, and Augusta. He is now Executive and Artistic Director Emeritus of the Country Dance and Song Society, after serving as its Director for 28 years.
Advanced English Country Dance; English Dance Callers Workshop
Earl is a full-time dance musician who has played violin and viola for a variety of English, Scottish, American, and international dancing for many years. He plays at dance camps, workshops, balls and other dance events throughout the United States and abroad, and he has made twenty-some recordings with various musical groups. When not on the road, he lives in great contentment on ten acres of woods in rural Michigan with his wife, Sherry Brodock.
Kent has been singing and dancing (in all kinds of traditions) since slightly before he was born. He has been a Christmas School participant for over 35 years, a leader in the Berea Shape Note community, energetic workshop leader, and fine appreciator of community music.
Shape Note Singing
Wayne has been on various projects this year. He’s reconstructing a composer’s opera for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and performs this summer with the Glimmerglass Festival. On the educational front he’s been spreading Jubo to all parts of the United States from Chautauqua to Interlochen. This year at Berea he will offer along with the recorder and jews harps classes another round of Jubo.
Beginning Recorder; Jews Harp; Intermediate Recorder
Mary has taught English country dancing at workshops, dance camps, Elderhostels, and at Christmas Country Dance School for many years. She brings enthusiasm and a sense of fun to beginners, while teaching in a clear, concise style.
Beginning English Country Dance
Dean has been playing for contra, Scottish, English, international, and couples dancing since he relocated to North Carolina in the late 1970s. He cofounded the band FootLoose and played piano and clarinet with it for 20 years. He helps organize a family and community dance series in the Triangle area.
Contra Dance Open Band
Becky grew up in Michigan, spent extensive time in West Virginia and now calls Washington D.C. home. She has worked with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, Rhythm in Shoes and Good Foot Dance Company and has studied with an array of percussive dance luminaries; Eileen Carson, Sharon Leahy, Sandy Silva, Ira Bernstein and many more. She has been awarded two West Virginia Division of Culture & History Professional Development Grants, choreographed two pieces in celebration of Wheatland Music Festival’s 40th Anniversary for the Carry it On Project, has organized Dare to be Square Helvetia, West Virginia for the past five years, serves part-time as the Events Coordinator for Augusta Heritage Center, coordinates the Mountain Dance Trail Project through Augusta and directs an evening-length music and dance show, Shift, inspired by Appalachia. You can find her calling square dances, performing with the T-Mart Rounders and two-stepping the nights away. www.rebeccahill.org
West Virginia Square Dances; Beginning Clogging/Flatfooting; Intermediate Clogging/Flatfooting
For more than 30 years, Andrea Hoag has devoted herself to traditional fiddling. Living in Kentucky and North Carolina in the early 1980s, she pursued Appalachian fiddling with visits to elders and archives. A growing passion for Swedish fiddling led her to study at Malungs Folkhögskola in Sweden, where she earned the certificate in Folk Violin Pedagogy in 1984. Andrea’s music has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and Performance Today and has garnered a Grammy nomination. In 2014 she received a Maryland State Arts Council Artist Award for Solo Performance. Her most recent album is Cold Frosty Morning at West River.
SARAH JO JACOBS
Sarah Jo is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with a Degree in Theater and English. She is ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with her CCDS family again. SJ has studied play-writing, acting, folk lore and puppetry. She has designed puppets for shows like Little Shop of Horrors, Avenue Q, and The Little Prince. She has also participated in numerous productions and festivals including Cumberland Dance Week (Instructor), The 24 Hour Play Festival (Director), Our Town (Emily Webb), The Tempest (Antonio), and Godspell (Chorus).
MUMM(s)ers the Word
Atossa has been a long time musician and staff member of Christmas School, playing piano, clarinet, recorder and accordion. Now fully retired from Berea College, she has moved to Black Mountain, NC where she is enjoying the beauty of Western North Carolina as well as becoming involved in the music and folk dance communities in the area.
Abby grew up in the East Coast traditional folk music revival of the 1970s. Abby started touring nationally at 18 with the dance and music company Rhythm In Shoes (RIS). She has collaborated with musician and composer Malcolm Dalglish in The Welcome Table, including original dance, music and choral arrangements of poems by Wendell Berry. In 2014 Abby reunited with RIS artistic director Sharon Leahy and a cast of percussive dance all-stars for Carry It On, a film and performance project celebrating the Wheatland Music Organization’s 40th anniversary festival
LEWIS & DONNA LAMB
Native Kentuckians, this remarkable father-daughter duo have been making, preserving, teaching, and sharing traditional Appalachian music for many years. With Lewis on fiddle and Donna on guitar your feet don’t stand a chance of remaining still! They perform and teach old time square dance music and traditional songs at festivals and workshops throughout the region. Lewis is also known for his folk-art woodcarvings and he and Donna together have crafted numerous musical instruments. Lewis and Donna are 2007 winners of the Kentucky Folk Heritage Award.
Songs from the Past to the Present
TIM LAMM & PAULA HARRISON
Tim and Paula (“Steps in Time Historical Dance”) regularly teach and perform vintage and contemporary couple dances in and around Lexington, KY. They have taught at Christmas School and Hands Four in Berea, Blue Moon in Huntsville, Dance Flurry in Saratoga Springs, and the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival in Sedalia. Their lessons are carefully crafted to make each step easy and fun. Dancers appreciate their relaxed style and ability to speak from experience to both men and women.
Beginning Waltzing; Intermediate Waltzing
Elvie grew up immersed in the New England music and dance community. 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 piano and accordion.
Beginning Dance Band
David Millstone started dancing in the early 1970s and has been calling contras and squares for 40 years. He is also an experienced caller of English country dance, appearing at camps and weekends across North America and in Europe. He particularly enjoys the variety of formations, music, and moods that ECD offers. He is looking forward to his first appearance at Christmas Country Dance School. David Millstone’s personal website.
Intermediate English Country Dance; The Many Moods of English; Contra Dance Open Mic
Jim has been a traditional dance enthusiast since his first Christmas Country Dance School in 1968. He is a collector of traditional community dance in the Southeastern US and New England, and was a pioneer in the study of historic American social dance. Several years ago he was enchanted by Timmy McCarthy and his presentation of the sets of Cork and Kerry, and now loves to teach and play for them whenever possible. Jim plays fiddle and guitar, performing with the Morrison Brothers Band and the Albemarle Morris Men.
Kerry Sets; Social Dances of Early America
Owen 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. He frequently appears on staff at Pinewoods, Augusta, Ashokan and many other camps, and is thrilled to be returning to CCDS this year.
Ben is Pat’s grandson, Dave’s younger son, and Jim’s cousin or nephew, depending upon whom you ask. He is a college freshman at the University of Excellence where he is an Awesome major (a program of his own design). He has been enjoying dancing and avoiding calling Appalachian figures for X years. You should dance with him, and if you are good enough, maybe he will serenade you on the piano, following the dance.
Kentucky Set Running
Janet, a basket maker from Rockcastle County, Kentucky, will proudly be joining the CCDS staff for her 18th year. Janet will be offering classes in traditional styles of basketry. A variety of materials will be offered with plenty of room for artistic expression in your individual baskets.
Each class limited to the first 20 people to sign up.
Basketry for All, One, Basketry for All, Two
Deborah is a fiddler from Berea, Kentucky. Deborah has maintained the traditions of the region playing for folk dances, teaching children’s dance, and providing lessons for area students. Deborah has played and toured both locally and internationally with numerous bluegrass, old time, and folk dance bands including the Berea College Country Dancers, the Berea Festival Dancers, Sugar Tree, and the Kentucky Sunshine Quartet.
Storyteller, writer, playwright, and actor, Jim Pfitzer would rather paddle a canoe than drive a car and prefers watching birds to watching television. Jim has performed and taught storytelling from coast to coast and is currently performing his one-man play, Aldo Leopold – A Standard of Change. This year marks the sixth year Jim has taught at CCDS.
I Can Tell A Story!; What Do I Do With This?
Jamie has been running sound for dances and concerts, mostly in the Washington, DC area, for many years. He is a regular at Glen Echo Park and specializes in all types of traditional music. He has also been running sound for a number of dance weekends and other events from Gulfport, FL to Ann Arbor, MI. This will be his 8th adventure at CCDS. Jamie’s approach has been to make each instrument and voice sound as close to natural as possible, work hard to make the musicians happy, and let them carry the show.
WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE
Self-described “dance maniac,” Wendy Graham Settle (Durango, CO) is thrilled to be back on staff at Christmas Country Dance School, where her passion for music, song and dance caught fire in 1991. Wendy leads English, American, and partner dances in the southwest, throughout the USA, and abroad—as far away as Alaska, England and Denmark. She proudly served on the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) board and is a Lifetime Contribution Award committee member. Find out more on Wendy’s personal website.
Challenging Contras; Writing Dances; Calling American Contras and Squares
Gillian has been teaching and performing folk dance on both sides of the Atlantic since 2004. Hailing from the vigorous folk scene surrounding Boston, MA, she also indulges in sword dance, morris, pub singing, percussive stepdance, and social dancing of many stripes. Her teaching has been described as “engaging, high energy, and accessible”. She currently leads Orion Longsword and dances with Candyrapper VSOP and Muddy River Morris. In her copious free time she enjoys social singing, cooking for dance events, and recreational data analysis.
JIM NAPIER STITES
Jim is Pat’s grand son, Dave’s nephew, and is the elder son of Pamela “Not Pam” Napier. He is a music teacher who has enjoyed dancing and calling Appalachian figures for…well…some time, now.
Kentucky Set Running
Patty is a long-time Christmas Country Dance School participant and enthusiast. A member of the singing Ritchie family, Patty most enjoys encouraging folks, young and old, to sing together and share their many talents.
Will coordinate Morningsong and Stories, and Evening Parlor
Al teaches Appalachian music for string instruments at Berea College and is best known for his mandolin, fiddle, guitar, and banjo playing, teaching any and all of these when asked. He is the leader of the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble, an energetic student group. Al plays fiddle in the Berea Cast-Offs dance band and has been an artist-in-residence for the Kentucky Arts Council in storytelling, folk music and dance. He also has been a staff member at Pinewoods, Buffalo Gap, Kentucky Summer Dance School, and other dance weeks.
Alice, third generation participant and CCDS staff member, plays bass and sings with her husband, Al. She’s performed across the US and abroad, from the Grand Old Opry to the Kennedy Center, to a school gym north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska, to another in Hobart, Tasmania. Locally, she and Al can be heard accompanying the Berea Festival Dancers, playing for contras with the Berea Cast-offs, or doing concerts with her sister, Ruth McLain Smith.
Will coordinate evening staff music
Nathan is a veteran of over 30 years in country dance music. He plays the fiddle, mandolin, tenor banjo, double bass, electric bass guitar, and piano. Currently, Nathan plays with The Morrison Brothers Band, Elise Melrood, Footbridge, Intellectual Property, Websters Edition-Jazz, Paw Paw Pickers, and the Lexington Community Orchestra. His greatest thrill, however, is making music with his daughters Adéla and Anna in their band, Dreamdance. Nathan brings his love for music to others through teaching and mentoring orchestra students in the Kentucky public schools, and as music director at his church in Lexington. He is also, without a doubt, one of the world’s most under-appreciated random storytellers.