A message from Peter Amidon, co-director of Harmony of Song & Dance week at Pinewoods.
I studied, and loved, instrumental classical music through and after college, playing piano, guitar, cello and viola da gamba. Then, when I was 25, and living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I was introduced to traditional song and dance. It was an epiphany; I loved the physicality of the singing and dancing, and the fact that it was participatory. I loved that it came from and was for the common people. I sold my viola da gamba and bought a fiddle and a banjo.
I met my wife Mary Alice at a contra dance and in 1976 we went to CDSS’s Folk Music Week at Pinewoods. I went into Pinewoods to learn more fiddle tunes, and I came out a singer who also played fiddle. It was a life-changing experience. Over the last 35 years many CDSS Pinewoods weeks — Folk Music, Family, English & American Dance — have helped define who Mary Alice and I are and what we do.
Now we are honored to be chairing The Harmony of Song & Dance — the new CDSS week for singers who love to dance and for dancers who love to sing — with a dynamic and diverse staff of dance and song leaders.
We are bringing together some of our favorite music and dance activities…
- group harmony singing by ear and from written arrangements
- English folk songs
- Appalachian ballads
- shape note
- secular and sacred gospel singing
- contra, English, and ritual dance
- work songs and sea songs
- tune sessions and playing in a dance band
…with some of our favorite people…
- dynamic and gifted singing leaders Kim & Reggie Harris
- Cambridge Revels music master George Emlen
- master singer/instrumentalist Keith Murphy
- profound bass and dance caller Nils Fredland
- delicious English pianist and humorist Karen Axelrod
- elegant and graceful fiddler/singer Naomi Morse
- master English dance caller and choral singer Brad Foster
- sublime yet powerful dance fiddler Becky Tracy
- steeped-in-traditional-music-since-birth singer/banjo player/clog dancer Leela Grace
- Master of All Ceremonies and leader of songs from across the pond (Scotland & England) and ritual dance Alistair Brown
- brilliant Irish flute/whistle player/singer Shannon Heaton
- innovative guitarist and singer Matt Heaton
- inspired leader of joyful song Mary Alice Amidon
- and pretty good singing leader Peter Amidon (me).
This would be our dream staff, except they are all really coming!
I believe that the act of singing and dancing together creates a powerful and joyful synchronicity. It is a foundation of Mary Alice’s and my lives and the foundation of the Harmony of Song & Dance.
We hope you will come join us for what we are expecting will be an extraordinary week.
– Peter Amidon, June, 2011
Harmony of Song & Dance at Pinewoods will take place July 23 – 30, 2011. There is still space available! To find out more visit www.cdss.org/harmony.
There are also still scholarships available at this writing. To inquire, please e-mail email@example.com.
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