November 22, 2019

Song Circle and Festival Contra Dance Event

Song Circle

Between workshops on Friday come join in the Song Circle, which is like a vocal jam.  We go around the room, taking turns picking songs for everyone to sing.  Everyone won’t know every tune, at least for the first verse, but the melodies are usually easy to pick up, and there will be lots of well-known, favorite songs to choose.  You can sing melody, harmony, drone note–whatever works for you.  You can choose not to sing every song, or to “pass” when it’s your turn to pick one for the group.  No pressure!  Like an instrument jam, the fun is in establishing the connection around the group and creating music together.  The result can be compellingly beautiful!

  • Bring your voice and, if you’d like, an instrument to accompany the singing.
  • Bring a copy of the song book “Rise Up Singing” if you have it; there will also be copies to borrow.
  • And if you have a favorite song or two for the group, bring 10 copies of the words and chords.

Festival Contra Dance Event–Play in the Band or Dance

The last activity on Saturday afternoon will be a Contra Dance with all dances taught and called by Chris Kermiet. Chris, a 50-year veteran of organizing such events, will be putting together a combination of dances that will provide a rich program with a variety of easy dances that involve less learning and more dancing.

The band is open to anyone who wants to learn the material and practice—Hammered and Mountain Dulcimers and any other instruments you might want to play. We would really like to encourage more of our Mountain Dulcimer friends to join in.

The dozen and a half people who played last year in the band had so much fun and learned so much that we are repeating the activity this year. The dance will be shorter so we will need roughly half the number of sets from last year. You are welcome to participate by learning one or two sets, or half of the sets or all of them; you may play melody or chords. Some people want to dance some of the five or so dances, and play for others. Just participate in the band at whatever level you like!

This is a very low-stress situation in which you can learn to play with other people and to play for dances and just to get together once a month or so and play together. There’s little else that is as much fun as playing music with other people, so please join us.

Oooooeeee, here goes some fun!

Following are the 2020 Dance Band sets:

  • Whiskey Before Breakfast / Nixon’s Farewell / Liberty
  • Calliope House (in D) / Out on the Ocean / Old Favorite
  • Road to Lisdoonvarna / Glass Island Reel
  • Sandy Boys / Old Joe Clark / Red Haired Boy
  • Elkins / Shoes & Stockings / Redwing
  • Dancing Bear / Golden Stud
  • Over the Waterfall / Arkansas Traveler / Spotted Pony
  • Emily’s Waltz

Some of these tunes can be found on our Jam Tunes & Resources Page.  Others you’ll probably have in one of your dulcimer books at home or can find through an internet search.  Can’t find them?  Contact us and we’ll help you out.

Contra dance example from 2017.

To get an idea of what some of the dances look like, watch some youtube videos . . .

(And don’t get intimidated by these dancers. Remember, the caller will step you through it every step of the way. And any “mistakes” can lead to a lot of laughing and fun!

The Contra Dance from the 2017 Dulcimer Festival: